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THIS IS NO. 442 OF evs'^^mt^D^s 












London: J. M. DENT & SONS Ltd. 
New York: E. P. DUTTON & CO. 


Translated 6^ 
Volume Three 

London & Toronto 
JlM.T>ent & Jons Ltd. 
NzwYork-ePVuUon &Co. 

First Issue of this Edition . 1910 
Reprinted .... 1921 

All rights reserved 

























["The Epistle Dedicatorie "] 

To the right Honorable and all-vertue-accomplished 
Ladies^ Ladie Elizabeth Grey, nvije to the right Noble 
Maister Henrie Grey ; daughter to the right Honorable 
Earle of Shrewsburie. AND, Ladie Marie Nevill, daughter 
to the right Honorable Lord high Treasurer of England ; 
wife to Sir Henrie Nevill of Abergevenny, 

Your Honorable Ladicships excelling in Musike, as in 
all other admirable qualities, can tell nie of a French branle 
(as I take it) wherein one man, like Mercuric betweene the 
radiant orbes of Venus and the Moone, leadeth a daunce 
to two women. In resemblance whereof ; though much I 
want the eloquence of Mercurie to move you, much more 
his abilitie to guide you, most of all his nobilitie to comfort 
you, yet, as for your exercise, or more perfection, some- 
time you practise with meaner than a teacher, or a teacher 
much meaner then your selves : vouchsafe me your un- 
worthie, but herein happy teacher, joyntly to usher you to 
this French motion. French hath long time beene termed 
the language of Ladies: So doth it grace your tongues ; so 
doe your tongues grace it; as if written by men it may have 
a good garbe, spoken by you it hath a double grace: for so 
have I heard some of you speake it, as no man, jew women, 
could come-neare their sweete-relisht ayre of it. That as 
Tullie averred of his Roman Ladies for Latine, so not onely 
for our mother-tongue, but also for the principally Italian 
and French, not onely our princely Mother of Majestic, 
Magnificence, omnisufjiciencie , but (for instance) I avowe, 
you my five honored Schollers (whom as ever in heart, so 
would I honor now by these my labour es) are the purest, 
finest, and clearest speakers. So as where I have cause to 
love those languages above all, because they are my living, 
I never like or love tliem so well, as when I heare you reade 

III 442 * 

2 Preface 

or speake them. Whereby as Virgil in his yong Euryalus 
conceited vertiie more gracious, because it came from a 
fair e- gracious bodie ; so prize I more those glorious 
gemmes of your languages and knowledge, because they 
are set in the pure golde of your NohiUtie, and worne on 
the faire front or bright bosome of your beauties. Re- 
splendent is the Sunne at the lowest; rclucent the Moone 
at the least, rising y or sitting ; but most radiant, reviving, 
influent, when they are at highest. Learning and lan- 
guages in any place will shew some sparkes of lights btit 
m.ost life and lustre in illustrious pallaces, to cheere, grace, 
and cleare their owners and their neighbours. This state 
heareth well, that some learned are ennobled: much better 
may it heare, that our Nobles are many learned. Be 
nobilitie a succour to learning, as learning is an honor to 
nobilitie. A rich coyne is nobilitie, but without stampe 
of language scarce-currant out of our owne countrie; and 
in our country for no trade or traffike with Strangers. We 
have scene [with some shame and sorrowe) some of our 
golden-fleece Knights and Colossian Courtiers, when for- 
raine Princes come in presence, perhaps beare the presence, 
but scarce the sense, lesse the speach, least of all the 
sociablenesse of a man, unlesse by signes and noddes, or 
Noes, or Ouyes ; yea be faine to intreate their Mistresses 
speake for them, but find tongue enough to faine a treatie 
to their Mistresses. Yet as the supreme Mistresse and 
glorious Lady of us all, and all excellence hath often excel- 
lently spoken for all: So (to my joy and glory) some of you, 
Ladies, have I heard, not only entertaine, hut satisfie best 
spoken strangers with their applause and admiration. 
Herein now could I beate, and lawes would hreake the 
legges of that dog-Satyrist, who causlesse barks, bites, 
and is bitter, even to deprave that tmtai^itahle Cornelia 
whom Princes of her time, and all men of good minds did 
honor ever since. Nor do I well brooke in that behalfe 
even this Satyrizing censor my prototype, that he after him 
in this your part affordes you small share of Rhethorique, 
Logique, Law ; 7vhose tongue to him is Rhethorique, reason 
Logique, and commandement Law (Mont. lib. iii. c. 3). 
Your other perfections 6 let him not draw downe to im- 
perfection. If you by them may ride Regents ; more may 
you do it, if you have more perfections. In Poesie, in 

Preface 3 

Historiey yea in Philosophy if you have good allowancey 
why should you have any limites? And if you meane to 
make your selves by them, 'what meanes are there to thein^ 
hut the languages you have Jearn't? Be you {as he there 
scoff eth) capsula totae, All hid, all cabinets (which I the 
rather heere expound, because I there omit) but so hidde, 
as much more good is in you than knozvne of you; such 
Cabinets of Natures treasures, Vertues jewelles, learnings 
modelles, as all the Muses and Graces can scarce shew the 
like. What neede you to enquire but what you neede? 
You are rich and may require such ornaments as fitte your 
state. Preheminence it is, it is not superfluitie : for as a 
man excelleth a beast that hee can speake, a man excelles 
a man that hee can speake much better: So to a woman 
in naturall guifts if man 7nust yeelde prioritie, in artificialt 
complements if she come neare him, shee may goe farre 
afore him. Nor is it curio sitie ; it is due care. Woulde 
not yourr noble Husbandes, even in house-affaires, dislike 
to speake to you, or you to them, by a trouchman? How 
then would you like it in strange matters to talke with a 
Stranger by an interpreter ? How can you knowe his suffi- 
ciencie? How dare you trust his faithftdnesse? Tenne to 
one he knowes not, or shoulde not knowe what he speakes- 
of : or more, or lesse, or worse hee expresseth, one or both. 
A7id why should men, more then you, talke with the dead, 
the truest, and take counsel! of Bookes, the best Counsel- 
lours? Wittes you have as good, if not better; wordes 
[they say) you have more ; why should you then not wider- 
stand as much? If tongue be a womans armes, why should 
you not arme you with best choice thereof? Olde Ennius 
coidde bragge hee had three hartes, because hee knew 
three tongues. And may not you Ladies boast as much, 
whose tongues can speake as many, and be as hartie with 
one head, one hart, one tongue? So hath the loving care, 
and carefull love of your right Plonorable and most prudent 
Parents [thrice-honored Lady Grey) as well in language 
for more knowledge, more knowledge for all vertue, as in 
high linage for rich dowrie, rich dowrie for great match 
provided for you. An acte most worthie their Progenitors, 
the olde Worthies of Shrevvsbvrie, to make you so well 
zvorthie by your match to inherite a house no lesse ancient; 
the antient house of Kent. Whereof to zvish you answer- 

4 Preface 

<ible joy^ to the honor of both Houses, demerhe of your 
selves, comfort of all your friendes, let me hut adde my 
^ish : God give my wish effect, and your selves shall wish 
no better. And so to you (my in-hart-honored, since best- 
deserving Ladie Nevill) / knowe not, if native inclina- 
tion, proceeding from a Father, in wisedome none greater ; 
41 Mother, in goodnesse none better; or informing instruc- 
tion, applied by his prudent direction, used by her hinde 
discretion, received by your quiche ingenuitie, or confirming 
example of both them above all example, and your noble 
husband excellently qualified, exquisitely languaged, and 
your as learned as well graced brothers ; or all these in con- 
course have made-uppe such accomplishment, as againe I 
knowe not, if you, or wee all, owe more to them for you. 
This I knowe and acknowledge, as to your right Honor- 
able Father, this ages Cato, our Englands Hospitalis, I 
■owe and vow all service for many-many favours hee hath 
done me, more hee may, and to those other for some other : 
So to your Ladieship for all, who not onely with them, 
hut many more, have not onely wrought me crediie to give 
countenance, but brought mee kindenesse to afforde com- 
moditie. As therefore of aught else I ever may, so of this 
J have heere done, your Ladieship may challenge no small 
farte, since no small parte thereof was done under your 
Fathers roofe, under your regiment. Wherefore to both 
your Honors (renowmed Grey and Nevill) as to luno in 
Greece, or Vesta in new Rome on the Altare of your 
vertues, I consecrate without idolatrie, prophanenesse, or 
hlasphemie, both the incense of Praise and Thankes, and 
the never-failing fire of an ever-faithfull affection, which 
the Vestall Virgins of pure thoughts shall still-still keepe 
alive, that while I live, and when I die, I may be as I am 
Tour Honors servant in true hart, Iohn Florio. 

TO THE RIGHT HO-norable Ladie Elizabeth Grey. 

Of Honorable Talbot honor 'd-farre, 

The forecast and the fortune, by his Word 
Montaigne here descrives ; what by his Sword, 
What by his wit ; this, as the guiding starre ; 

That, as th' /Etolian blast, in peace, or warre, 
At sea, or land, as cause did use afforde, 
AvANT Le Vent, to tacke his sailes a borde, 
So as his course no orethwart crosse might barre ; 


But he would sweetly saile before the wind; 

For Princes service, Countries good, his fame. 

Heire-Daughter of that prudent-constant kinde, 
Joyning thereto of Grey as great a name, 

Of both chiefe glories shrining in your minde, 

Honor him, that your Honor doth proclaime. 

II Candido. 

TO THE RIGHT Noble and vertuous Ladie Marie NevilL 

If ornaments to men, to Ladies more, 

If to meane persons, more to noble minde, 
Study and languages have beene assignde ; 
How should we then admire, applaude, adore 

You Madame, so adorn 'd, as few before? 

As if your Fathers, Husbands, Brothers kinde 

You were to equall or excell inclinde : 

Such knowledge keeping keyes of vertues store. 

Though this you know no better in your owne, 
Then it you knew in French, or had it beene. 
In Tuscane writ, as well you had it knowne ; 

Though lesser grace in this, than that, be scene ; 

Yet, as your owne, since you love publike-weale. 
Take well, we unknowne goods to all reveale. 

II Candido. 


The third Booke 


No man living is free from speaking foolish things; the 
ill lucke is, to speake them curiously : 

Noi iste magno conatu tnagnas nugas dixcrit. 

Ter. Heaut. act. iv. sc, i. 

This fellow sure with much a doe, 
Will tell great tales and trifles too. 

That concerneth not me ; mine slip from me with as 
little care, as they are of smal worth : whereby they speed 
the better. I would suddenly quit them, for the least cost 
were in them : Nor do I buy, or sell them, but for what 
they weigfh. I speake unto Paper, as to the first man I 
meete. That this is true, marke well what followes. To 
whofu should not treachery be detestable, when Tiberius 
refused it on such great interest? One sent him word out 
of Germany, that if he thought it good, Ariminius should 
be made away by poison. He was the mightiest enemy 
the Romans had, who had so vilely used them under Varus, 
and who onely empeached the encrease of his domination 
in that country. His answer was; that the people of Rome 
were accustomed to be revenged on their enemies by open 
courses, With weapons in hand; not by sub till sleights, 
nor in hugger mugger; thus left he the profitable for the 
honest. He was (you will say) a cosener. I beleeve it; 
that's no wonder; in men of his profession. But the con- 
fession of vertue, is of no lesse consequence in his mouth 
that hateth the same, forsomuch as truth by force doth 
wrest it from him, and if he will not [admit] it in him, at 


8 Montaigne's Essayes 

least, to adorne himselfe he will put it on. Our composi- 
tion, both piiblike and private, is full of imperfection; 
yet is there nothings in nature unserviceable, no not in- 
utility it selfe ; nothing- thereof hath beene insinuated in 
this hug-e universe, but holdeth some fit place therein. Our 
essence is cymented with erased qualities; ambition, 
jealosie, envy, reveng-e, superstition, dispaire, lodg-e in us, 
with so naturall a possession, as their imag-e is also dis- 
cerned in beasts : yea and cruelty, so unnaturall a vice : for 
in the middest of compassion, we inwardly feele a kinde 
of bitter-sweet-pricking- of malicious delight, to see others 
suffer; and children feele it also : 

Suave mart magno turhantibus cequora vcntis, 
E terra viagnum alterius spectare laborem. 

LucR. ii. I. 

'Tis sweet on graund seas, when windes waves turmoyle,. 
From land to see an others greevous toyle. 

The seed of which qualities, who should roote out of 
man, should rulne the fundamental conditions of our life : 
In matter of policy likewise; some necessary functions 
are not onely base, but faulty : vices finde therein a seate, 
and employ themselves in the stitching- up of our frame ; as 
poysons in the preservations of our health. If they be- 
come excusable, because wee have neede of them, and that 
common necessity effaceth their true property ; let us 
resigne the acting of this part to hardy Citizens, who sticke 
not to sacrifice their honours and consciences, as those of 
old, their lives, for their Countries availe and safety. We 
that are more weake, had best assume taskes of more ease 
and lesse hazard. The Common-wealth requireth some to 
betray, some to lie, and some to massaker : leave we that 
commission to people more obedient and more pliable. 
Truly, I have often beene vexed, to see our judges, by 
fraude or false hopes of favour or pardon, draw on a male- 
factor, to bewray his offence ; employing therein both 
cousenage and impudencie. It were fit for justice, and 
Plato himselfe, who favoureth this custome, to furnish 
me with mean-es more sutable to my humour. *Tis a 
malicious justice, and in my conceit no lesse wounded by 
it selfe, then by others. I answered not long since, that 
hardly could I betray my Prince for a particular man, who 
should be very sory to betray a particular man for my 


^ The Third Booke Chap. I 9 

Prince. And loath not onely to deceive, but that any 
be deceived in me ; whereto I will neither furnish matter 
nor occasion. In that little busines I have managed be- 
tweene our Princes, amid the divisions and subdivisions, 
which at this day so teare and turmoile us, I have curi- 
ously heeded, that they mistake me not, nor muffled them- 
selves in any maske. The professors of that trade hold 
themselves most covert ; pretending- and counterfeiting the 
greatest indifference and neerenes to the cause they can. 
As for me, I offer my selfe in my liveliest reasons, in a 
forme most mine owne : A tender and young Negotiator, 
and who had rather faile in my businesse, then in my selfe. 
Yet hath this been hitherto with so good hap (for surel^- 
fortune is in these matters a principal actor) that few have 
dealt betwene party and party with lesse suspition, and 
more inward favour. I have in all my proceedings an 
open fashion, easie to insinuate and give it selfe credit at 
first acquaintance. Sincerity, plainenesse, and naked 
truth, in what age soever, finde also their opportunitie and 
employment. Besides, their liberty is little called in ques- 
tion, or subject to hate, who deale without respect of their 
owne interest. And they may truely use the answer of 
Hyperides unto the Athenians, complaining of his bitter 
invectives and sharpenesse of his speech : Consider not^ 
my masters whether I am free, hut whether I he so, with- 
out taking ought, or hettering my state hy it. My liberty 
also hath easily discharged me from all suspition of faint- 
nesse, by it's vigor (nor forbearing to speake any thing, 
though it bit or stung them ; I could not have said worse 
in their absence) and because it carrieth an apparant show 
of simplicity and carelesnesse. I pretend no other fruit by 
negotiating, then to negotiate ; and annex no long pur- 
suites or propositions to it. Every action makes his par- 
ticular game, win he if he can. Nor am I urged with the 
passion of love or hate unto great men ; nor is my wil 
shackled with anger, or particular respect. I regard our 
Kings with an affection simply lawfull, and meerely civil, 
neither mooved nor unmoov'd by private interest : for 
which I like my selfe the better. The generall and just 
cause bindes me no more then moderately, and without 
violent fits. I am not subject to these piercing pledges 
and inward gages. Choller and hate are beyond the duty 

lo Montaigne's Essayes 

of justice, and are passions fitting only those, whose reason 
is not sufficient to hold them to their duty : Utatur moiu 
animi, qui uti ratione non potest, Let him use the motion 
of his tiiinde, that cannot use reason. All lawful! inten- 
tions are of themselves temperate : if not, they are altered 
into sedicious and unlawful. It is that makes me march 
every where with my head aloft, my face and heart open. 
Verily (and I feare not to avouch it) I could easily for a 
neede, bring a candle to Saint Michaell, and another to his 
Dragon, as the good old woman. I will follow the best 
side to the fire, but not into it, if I can choose. If neede 
require, let Montaigne my Mannor-house be swallowed up 
in the publike ruine : but if there be no such necessity, I 
will acknowledge my selfe beholding unto fortune if she 
please to save it; and for it's safety employ as much scope 
as my endevours can affoord me. Was it not Atticus, who 
cleaving to the right (but loosing side) saved himselfe by 
his moderation, in that generall Shipwracke of the world, 
amidst so many changes and divers alterations? To 
private men, such as he was, it is more easie. And in such 
kinde of businesse, I thinke one dealeth justly, not to be 
too forward to insinuate or invite himselfe : To hold a 
staggering or middle course, to beare an unmooved affec- 
tion, and without inclination in the troubles of his country, 
and publike divisions, I deeme neither seemely nor honest ; 
Ea non media, sed nulla via est, velut eventum e^xpectan- 
tium, quo fortuncB consilia sua applicent, That is not the 
mid-way, but a mad way, or no way, as of those that 
expect the event with intent to apply their dessignes as 
fortune shall fall out. That may be permitted in the 
affaires of neighbours. So did Gelon the tyrant of Sira- 
cusa suspend his inclination in the Barbarian wars against 
the Greekes, keeping Ambasdours at Delphos, with 
presents, to watch on what side the victory would light, 
and to apprehend the fittest occasion of reconcilement with 
the victors. It were a kind of treason to do so in our owne 
affaires and domestical! matters, wherein of necessity one 
must resolve and take a side; but for a man that hath 
neither charge, nor expresse commandement to urge him ; 
not to busie or entermedle himselfe therein, I holde it more 
excusable : (Yet frame I not this excuse for my selfe) then 
in forraine and strangers wars, wherewith according to our 

The Third Booke Chap. I ii 

laws, no man is troubled against his will. Neverthelesse 
those, who wholly ingage themselves into them, may carry 
such an order and temper, as the storme (without offend- 
ing them) may glide over their head. Had wee not reason 
to hope as much of the deceased Bishop of Orleans, Lord 
of Morvilliers? And I know some, who at this present 
worthily bestirre themselves, in so even a fashion or pleas- 
ing a manner, that they are likely to continue on foote, 
whatsoever injurious alteration or fall, the heavens may 
prepare against us. I holde it onely fit for Kings to be 
angry with Kings: And mocke at those rash spirits, who 
from the braverie of their hearts offer themselves to so 
unproportionate quarrels. For one undertaketh not a par- 
ticular quarrell against a Prince, in marching against him 
openly and couragiously, for his honour, and according 
to his duty : If hee love not such a man : hee doth better : 
at least hee esteemeth him. And the cause of lawes espe- 
cially, and defence of the auncient state, hath ever found 
this priviledge, that such as for their owne interest, dis- 
turbe the same, excuse (if they honour not) their defendors. 
But wee ought not terme duty (as now a dayes wee do) 
a sower rigour, and intestine crahbednesse, proceeding of 
private interest and passion: nor courage a treacherous and 
malicious proceeding. Their disposition to frowardnesse 
and mischiefe, they entitle Zeale : That's not the cause 
doth heate them, 'tis their owne interest : They kindle a 
warre, not because it is just, but because it is warre. Why 
may not a man beare himselfe betweene enemies featly 
and faithfully? Doe it, if not altogether with an equall 
(for it may admit different measure) at least with a sober 
affection, which may not so much engage you to the one, 
that he looke for al at your hands. Content your selfe 
with a moderate proportion of their favour, and to glide 
in troubled waters without fishing in them. Th' other 
manner of offering ones uttermost endevours to both sides, 
implyeth lesse discretion then conscience. What knows 
he to whom you betray another, as much your friend as 
himselfe, but you will do the like for him, when his turne 
shall come? He takes you for a villaine : whilst that hee 
heares you, and gathers out of you, and makes his best 
use of your disloyalty. For, double fellowes are onely 
heneficiall in what they bring, but we must looke, they 

12 Montaigne's Essayes 

carry away as little as may he. I carry nothing to the one, 
which I may not (having- opportunity) say unto the other, 
the accent only changed a little : and report either but 
indifferent or knowne, or common things. No benefit can 
induce mee to lye unto them : what is entrusted to my 
silence I conceale religiously, but take as little in trust as 
I can. Princes secrets are a troublesome charge, to such 
as have nought to do with them. I ever by my good will 
capitulate with them, that they trust mee with very little : 
but let them assuredly trust what I disclose unto them. I 
alwayes knew more then I wold. An open speach opens 
the way to another^ and draws all out, even as Wine, and 
Love. Philippedes in my minde, answered King Lysimu- 
chus wisely, when hee demaunded of him, what of his 
wealth or state hee should empart unto him : Which and 
what you please (quoth hee) so it he not your secrets. I 
see every one mutinie, if another conceale the deapth or 
mysterie of the affaires from him, wherein he pleaseth to 
employ him, or have but purloyned any circumstance from 
him. For my part, I am content one tell me no more 
of his businesse then he will have me know or deale in ; 
nor desire I, that my knowledge exceede or straine my 
word. If I must needs be the instrument of cozinage, it 
shall at least be with safety of my conscience. I will not 
be esteemed a servant, nor so affectionate, nor yet so faith- 
full, that I be judged fit to betray any man. Who is tin- 
faithfull to himselfe, may he excused if hee he faithlesse 
to his Master. But Princes entertaine not men by halfes, 
and despise bounded [and] conditionall service. What 
remedy? I freely tell them my limits; for, a slave I must 
not be but unto reason, which yet I cannot compasse : 
And they are to blame, to exact from a free man, the like 
subjection unto their service, and the same obligation, 
which they may from those they have made and bought ; 
and whose fortune dependeth particularly and expresly on 
theirs. The lawes have delivered mee from much trouble : 
they have chosen mee a side to followe, and appointed 
mee a maister to obey : all other superiority and duty, 
ought to bee relative unto that, and bee restrained. Yet 
may it not be concluded, that if my affection should other- 
wise transport mee, I would presently afforde my helping 
hand unto it. Will and desires are a lawe to themselves. 

The Third Booke Chap. I 13 

actions are to receive it of publike institutions : All rfiese 
procedings of mine, are somewhat dissonant from our 
formes. They should produce no great effects, nor holde 
out long among us. Innocencie it selje could not in these 
times nor negotiate without dis simulation ^ nor trafficke 
without lying. Neither are publike functions of my diet; 
what my profession requires thereto, I furnish in the most 
private manner I can. Being a childe, I was plunged into 
them up to the eares, and had good successe; but I got 
loose in good time. I have often since shunned medling 
with them, seldome accepted and never required ; ever 
holding my back toward ambition; but if not as rowers, 
who goe forward as it were backeward : Yet so, as I am 
lesse beholding to resolution, then to my good fortune, 
that I was not wholly embarked in them. For, there are 
courses lesse against my taste, and more comfortable to 
my carriage, by which if heretofore it had called mee to 
the service of the common-wealth, and my advancement 
unto credit in the world : I know that in following the same 
I had exceeded the reason of my conceitc. Those which 
commonly say against my profession, that what I terme 
liberty, simplicity and plainenesse in my behaviour, is arte, 
cunning and subtilty : and rather discretion, then good- 
nesse ; industry then nature ; good wit, then good hap ; doe 
mee more honour, then shame. But truely they make my 
cunning overcunning. And whosoever hath traced mee 
and nearely looked into my humours. He loose a good 
wager if hee confesse not, that there is no rule in their 
schoole, could, a midde such crooked pathes and divers 
windings, square and raport this naturall motion, and 
maintaine an apparance of liberty and licence, so equall 
and inflexible ; and that all their attention and wit, is not 
of power to bring them to it. The way to trueth is but one 
and simple; that of particular profit and benefit of affaires 
a man hath in charge, double, uneven and accidentall. I 
have often scene these counterfet and artificiall liberties 
in practise, but most commonly without successe. They 
savour of ALsopes Asse : who in emulation of the dogge, 
layde his two fore-feete very jocondly upon his masters 
shoulders : but looke how many blandishments the prety 
dogge received, under one, so many bastinadoes were re- 
doubled upon the poore Asses backe. Id maxime quern- 

14 Montaigne's Essayes 

que decet: quod est cujusque suum maxime (Cic. Off. i.) : 
that becomes every man especially, which is his oivne espe- 
cially : I will not deprive cousinag-e of her ranke, that were 
to understand the world but ill : I know it hath often done 
profitable service, it supporteth, yea and nourisheth the 
greatest part of mens vacations. 

There are some lawfull vices : as many actions, or g-ood 
or excusable, unlawfull. Justice in it selfe naturall and 
universall is otherwise ordered, and more nobly distributed, 
then this other especiall, and nationall justice, restrained 
and suted to the neede of our pollicie : Veri juris german- 
ceque justitice solidam et expressam effigiem nullain tene- 
mus : umbra et im^aginibus utimur (Cic. Off. iii.). Wee 
have no lively nor life-like purtraiture of upright law and 
naturall justice: wee use but the shaddowes and colours 
of them. So that wise Dandamys, hearing the lives of 
Socrates, Pythagoras and Diogenes repeated, in other 
things, judged them great and worthy men, but overmuch 
subjected to the reverence of the lawes : which to autho- 
rize and second, true vertue is to decline very much from 
his naturall vigor : and not onely by their permission, but 
perswasions divers vicious actions are committed and take 
place. Ex Senatus consultis plebisque scitis scelera exer- 
centur. Even by decrees of counsell, and by statute-laws 
are mischiefes put in practise. I follow the common 
phrase, which makes a difference betweene profitable and 
honest things : terming some naturall actions which are 
not onely profitable but necessary, dishonest and filthy. 
But to continue our examples of treason. Two which 
aspired unto the kingdome of Thrace, were falne into con- 
troversie for their right. The Emperor hindred them from 
falling together by the eares : the one under colour of con- 
triving some friendly accord by an enterview inviting the 
other to a feast in his house, imprisoned and murthred 
him. Justice required, that the Romanes should be satis- 
fied for this outrage : some difficulties empeached the ordi- 
nary course. What they could not lawfully doe without 
warre and hazard, they attempted to accomplish by 
treason : what they coulde not honestly atchieve, they 
profitably compassed. For exployting whereof, Pomponius 
Flaccus was thought most fitte : who trayning the fellow 
into his Nettes by fained wordes and sugred assurances; 

The Third Booke Chap. I 15 

In Hew of the favour and honour hee promised him, sent 
him bound hand and foote to Rome. One traytor over- 
reached another, against common custome : For, they are 
all full of distrust, and 'tis very hard to surprize them in 
their owne arte : witnesse the heavy and dismall experi- 
ence we have lately felt of it. Let who liste bee Pompo- 
nius Flaccus ; and there are too-too many that will bee 
so. As for my part, both my word and faith, are as the 
rest ; pieces of this common body : their best effect is the 
publicke service : that's ever presupposed with mee. But 
as, if one should command mee to take the charge of the 
Rolles or Recordes of the Pallace, I would answere : I 
have no skill in them : or to bee a leader of Pioners, I would 
say ; I am called to a worthier office : E\en so, who would 
goe about to employ mee, not to murther or poyson, but 
to lye, betraye, and forsweare my selfe, I would tell him ; 
If I have robbed or stolne any thing- from any man, send 
mee rather to the Gallies. For, a Gentleman may law- 
fully speake as did the Lacedemonians, defeated by Anti^ 
pater, upon the points of their agreement : You may im- 
pose as heavy burdens, and harmefull taxes upon us as 
you please; hut you lose your time, to command us any 
shamefull or dishonest things. Every man should give 
himselfe the oath, which the Egyptian Kings, solemnly 
and usually presented to their judges ; Not to swarve from 
their consciences, what command soever they should re- 
ceive from themselves to the contrary. In such commis- 
sions there is an evident note of ignominie and condem- 
nation. And whosoever gives them you, accuseth you ; 
and if you conceive them right, gives you them as a trouble 
and burthen. As much as the publike affaires amend by 
your endevours, your owne empaireth : the better you do, 
so much the worse doe you. And it shall not bee newe, 
nor peradventure without shadowe of justice, that hee who 
setteth you a worke, becometh your ruine. If treason hee 
in any case excusable, it is onely then, when His employed 
to punish and betray treason. Wee shall finde many 
treacheries, to have beene not refused, but punished by 
them, in whose favour they were undertaken. Who 
knowes not the sentence of Fahritius, against Pyrrus his 
Physition? And the commaunder hath often severely 
revenged them on the partie he employed in them, refus- 

i6 Montaigne's Essayes 

ingf so unbridled a credite and power, and disavowing so 
lewde and so vile an obedience. Jaropelc Duke of Russia^ 
solllcited an Hungarian Gentleman, to betraye Boleslaus 
King- of Polonia, in contriving his death, or furnishing the 
Russians with meanes to work him some notable mis- 
chiefe. This gallant, presently bestirres him in it, and 
more then ever applying himselfe to the Kings service 
obtained to bee of his counsell, and of those hee most 
trusted. By which advantages, and with the opportunity 
of his masters absence, hee betrayed Vicilicia, a great and 
rich citie to the Russians : which was whoUie sakt and 
burnt by them, with a generall slaughter, both of the in- 
habitans, of what sexe or age soever, and a great number 
of nobility thereabouts, whom to that purpose he had 
assembled. Jaropelc his anger thus asswaged with 
revenge, and his rage mitigated (which was not without 
pretext, for Boleslaus had mightily wronged and in like 
manner incensed him) and glutted with the fruite of 
treason, examining the uglinesse thereof, naked and alone, 
and with impartiall eyes beholding the same, not dis- 
tempered by passion, conceived such a remorse, and tooke 
it so to heart, that hee forthwith caused the eyes of his 
instrumental! executioner to be pulled out, and his tongue 
and privy parts to be cut off. Antigonus pers waded the 
Argyraspides soldiers, to betray Eumenes their generall, 
and his adversarie, unto him, whom when they had de- 
livered, and he had caused to be slaine; himselfe desired 
to be the Commissary of divine justice, for the punishment 
of so detestable a trecherie : and resigning them into the 
hands of the Governor of the Province, gave him expresse 
charge, in what manner soever it were, to rid himselfe 
of them, and bring them to some mischievous end. 
Whereby, of that great number they were, not one ever 
after sawe the smoake of Macedon. The better they served 
his turne, the more wicked hee judged them, and the more 
worthie of punishment. The slave that betraied the corner 
wherein his master P. Sulpicius lay hid, was set at liberty, 
according to the promise of Syllas proscription : But 
according to the promise of common reason, being freed, 
hee was throwne head-long from off the Tarpeyan rocke. 
And Clovis King of France, in liew of the golden armes 
he had promised the three servants of Cannacre, caused 

The Third Booke Chap. I 17 

them to be hanged, after they had by his sollicitation* 
betraide their maister unto him. They hang them up 
with the purse of their reward about their neckes. Having 
satisfied their second and speciall faith, they also satisfie 
the generall and first. Mahomet the second, desirous to 
rid himselfe of his brother (through jealousie of rule, and 
according to the stile of that race) employed one of his 
ofificers in it ; who stifled him, by much water powred downe 
his throate all at once : which done, in expiation of the 
fact, he delivered the murtherer into the hands of his 
brothers mother (for they were brethren but by the fathers 
side) shee, in his presence, opened his bosome, and with hir 
owne revenging handes searching for his heart pluckt it 
out, and cast it unto dogges to eate. Even unto vile dis- 
positions (having made use of a filthy action) it is so 
sweete and pleasing, if they may with security, as it were, 
in way of recompence and holy correction, sowe one sure 
stitch of goodnesse, and justice unto it. Besides ; they 
respect the ministers of such horrible crimes, as people, 
that still upbraide them with them, and covet by their 
deaths to smother the knowledge, and cancell the testi- 
mony of their practises. Now if perhaps, not to frustrate 
the publike neede of that last and desperate remedy, one 
rewarde you for it : yet, hee who doth it (if hee bee not 
as bad himselfe) will hould you a most accursed and 
execrable creature. And deemeth you a greater traytor, 
then he whom you have betrayed : for with your owne 
handes, hee touched the lewdnesse of your disposition-, 
without disavowing, without object. But employeth you,, 
as we do out-cast persons in the executions of justice r 
an office as profitable as little honest. Besides the base- 
nesse of such commissions, there is in them a prostitution 
of conscience. The daughter of Sejanus, could not in 
Rome, by any true formall course of lawe, bee put to death, 
because shee was a virgine : that lawes might have their 
due course, shee was first deflowred by the common hang- 
man, and then strangled. Not his hand onely, but his. 
soule is a slave unto publike commodity. When Amurath 
the first, to agravate the punishment of his subjects, who 
had given support unto his sons unnaturall rebellion, 
appointed their neerest kinsmen to lend their hands unto 
this execution: I finde it verie honest in some of them,. 

1 8 Montaigne's Essayes 

who rather chose unjustly to bee held guiltie of anothers 
parricide, then to serve justice with their owne. And 
whereas in some paltrie townes forced in my time, I have 
scene base varlets for savegarde of their owne lives, yeild 
to hangf their friends and companions, I ever thought them 
of worse condition, then such as were hang-ed. It is re- 
ported, that Witoldiis Prince of Lituania, introduced an 
order with that nation, which was that the party con- 
demned to die, should with his owne handes make himselfe 
away; finding- it strange, that a third man being guiltlesse 
of the fact, shoulde bee employed and charged to commit 
a murther. When an urgent circumstance, or any violent 
and unexpected accident, induceth a Prince for the neces- 
sitie of his estate, or as they say for state matters, to 
breake his worde and faith, or otherwise forceth him out 
of his ordinary duty, he is to ascribe that necessity unto 
a lash of Gods rod : It is no vice, for hee hath quit his 
reason, unto a reason more publike, and more powerfull, 
but surely 'tis ill fortune. So that to one, who asked mee 
what remedy? I replyde, none; were hee truely rackt 
betweene these two extreames (Sed videat ne quceratur 
latcbra periurio (Cic. Ojf. iii.). But let him take heede he 
seeke not a starting hole for perjurie) hee must have done 
it; but if hee did it sans regret, or scruple, if it greeved 
him not to doe it, 'tis an argument his conscience is but 
in ill tearmes. Now were there any one of so tender or 
cheverell a conscience, to whome no cure might seeme 
worthy of so extreame a remedy : I should prise or regard 
him no whit the lesse. Hee cannot loose himselfe more 
handsomely nor more excusablie. Wee cannot doe every 
thing, nor bee in every place. When all is done, thus and 
thus, must wee often, as unto our last Anker and sole 
refuge, resigne the protection of our vessell unto the onely 
conduct of heaven. To what juster necessity can hee 
reserve himselfe? What is lesse possible for him to do, 
then what he cannot effect, without charge unto his faith, 
and imputation to his honour? things which peradventure 
should bee dearer to him, then his owne salvation, and the 
safety of his people. When with enfoulded armes hee shall 
devoutly call on God for his ayde, may hee not hope, that 
his fatherlie mercie shall not refuse the extraordinary 
favour, and sinne-forglving grace of his all powerfull hand, 

The Third Booke Chap. I 19 

unto a pure and righteous hand? They are dangerous 
examples, rare and erased exceptions to our naturall rules : 
wee must yeelde unto them, but with great moderation, 
and hecdie circumspection. No private commodity, may 
any way deserve wee should offer our conscience this 
wrong : the common-wealth may, when it is most apparant 
and important. Timoleon did fitlie warrant and warde the 
strangenes of his exploite by the teares hee shed, remem- 
bring it was with a brotherlie hand hee slew the tyrant. 
And it neerely pinched his selfe gnawne conscience, that 
hee was compelled to purchase the common good, at the rate 
of his honestie. The sacred Senate it selfe, by his meanes 
delivered from thraldome, durst not definitively decide of 
so haughtie an action, and rend in two so urgent and 
different semblances. But the Siracusans having oppor- 
tunely and at that very instant sent to the Corinthians, to 
require their protection, and a governour able to re-estab- 
lish their towne in former majestic, and deliver Sicilie from 
a number of pettie tyrants, which grievously oppressed the 
same : they appointed Timoleon, with this new caveat and 
declaration : That according as hee should well or ill 
demeane himselfe in his charge, their sentence should in- 
cline, either to grace him as the redeemer of his country, 
or disgrace him, as the murtherer of his brother. This 
fantasticall conclusion, hath some excuse upon the danger 
of the example, and importance of an act so different, and 
they did well, to discharge their judgement of it, or to em- 
barke him some where else, and on their considerations. 
Now the proceedings of Timoleon in his renowned journie 
did soone yeelde his cause the cleercr, so worthily and 
vertuously did hee every way beare himselfe therein. And 
the good hap, which ever accompanied him in the encom- 
branccs and difficulties hee was to subdue in the atchieve- 
ment of his noble enterprise, seemed to bee sent him by 
the Gods, conspiring to second, and consenting to favour 
his justification : This mans end is excusable, if ever any 
could bee. But the encrease and profit of the publike 
revenues, which served the Roman Senate for a pretext of 
the ensuing-foule conclusion I purpose to relate, is not of 
sufficient force to warrant such injustice. Certaine cities 
had by the order and permission of the Senate, with mony 
purchased their libertie, at the hands of L. Sylla. The 

20 Montaigne's Essayes 

matter comming in question ag-aine, the Senate condemned 
them, to be fmeable and taxed as before : and the mony 
they had employed for their ransome, should bee deemed as 
lost and forfeited. Civill warres do often produce such 
enormous examples : That we punish private men, for- 
somuch as they have beleeved us, when wee were other 
then now wee are. And one same mai^istrate doth lay the 
penalty of his chang^e on such as cannot do withal. The 
Schoolemaster whippeth his scholler for his docility, and 
the guide striketh the blinde man he Icadeth. A horrible 
image of justice. Some rules in Philosophy are both false 
and faint. The example proposed unto us of respecting 
private utility before faith given, hath not sufficient power 
by the circumstance they adde unto it. Theeves have taken 
you, and on your oath to pay them a certaine sum of money, 
have set you at liberty againe : They erre, that say, an 
honest man is quit of his worde and faith without pay- 
ing, beeing out of their hands ; There is no such matter. 
What feare and danger hath once forced mee to 7viU and 
consent untOy I am hound to ivill and per forme being out 
of danger and feare. And although it have but forced 
my tongue, and not my will, yet am I bound to make my 
worde good, and keepe my promise. For my part, when it 
hath sometimes unadvisedly over-runne my thought, yet 
have I made a conscience to disavowe the same. Other- 
wise wee should by degrees come to abolish all the right 
a third man takethand may challenge of our promises. 
Quasi verb forti viro vis possit adhiberi (Cic. Off. iii.). 
As thotigh any force could be used upon a valiant man. 
'Tis onely lawfull for our private interest to excuse the 
breache of promise, if wee have rashlie promised things in 
themselves wicked and unjust. For, the right of vertiie 
ought to over-rule the right of our bond. I have hereto- 
fore placed Epaminondas in the first ranke of excellent 
men, and now recant it not. Unto what high pitch raised 
hee the consideration of his particular duty? who never 
slew man hee had vanquished ; who for that unvaluable 
good of restoring his country hir liberty, made it a matter 
of conscience, to murther a Tyrant or his complices, with- 
out a due and formall course of lawe : and who judged him 
a bad man, how good a citizen soever, that amongest his 
enemies and in the fury of a battle, spared not his friend, 

The Third Booke Chap. I 21 

or his hoste. Loe here a minde of a rich composition. 
Hee matched unto the most violent and rude actions of 
men, goodnesse and courtesie, yea and the most choise 
and delicate, that may be found in the schoole of Philo- 
sophic. This so high-raised courage, so swelling and so 
obstinate against sorow, death and povertie, was it nature 
or arte, made it relent, even to the utmost straine of 
exceeding tendernesse and debonarety of complexion? 
Being cloathed in the dreadful! livery of Steele and blood, 
hee goeth on crushing and brusing a nation, invincible to 
all others, but to himselfe : yet mildely relenteth in the 
midst of a combat or confusion, when he meets with his 
host or with his friend. Verily, this man was deservedly 
tit to command in warre, which in the extremest furie 
of his innated rage, made him to feele the sting of cour- 
tesie, and remorse of gentlenesse : then when all inflamed, 
it foamed with furie, and burned with murder. 'Tis a 
miracle, to be able to joyne any shew of justice with such 
actions. But it only belongeth to the unmatched courage 
of Epaminondas, in that confused plight, to joyne mild- 
nesse and facility of the most gentle behaviour that ever 
was, unto them, yea and pure innocency it selfe. And 
whereas one told the Matnertins, that statutes were of no 
force against armed men : another to the Tribune of the 
people, that the time of justice and warre, were two : a 
third, that the confused noise of warre and clangor of 
armes, hindred him from understanding the sober voice 
of the lawes : This man was not so much as empcached 
from conceiving the milde sound of civilitie and kindnesse. 
Borrowed hee of his enemies the custome of sacrificing to 
the muses (when he went to the warres) to qualifie by their 
sweetnesse and mildnesse, that martial! furie, and hostile 
surlinesse? Let us not feare, after so great a master, to 
hold that some things are unlawful!, even against our 
fellest enemies : that publike interest, ought not to chal- 
lenge all of all, against private interest : Manente memoria 
etiatn in dissidio puhlicorum fcederum privati juris : Some 
fnemorie of private right continuing even in disagreement 
of publike contracts. 

— ct nulla potentia vires 
Prcestandi, ne quid peccet amicus, hahet: 

OviD. Pont. i. El. viii. 37. 

22 Montaigne's Essayes 

No power hath so great might, 
To make friends still goe right. 

And that all things be not lawfull to an honest maUy 
for the service of his King, the generall cause and defence 
of the lawes. Nan enini patria prcBstat omnibus officiis^ 
et ipsi conducit pios habere cives in parentes (Cic. Off, 
iii.). For our coiintrey is not above all other duties: it is 
good for the country to have her inhabitans use pietie 
toward their parents. 'Tis an instruction befitting" the 
times : wee need not harden our courages with these plates 
of iron and Steele ; it sufficeth our shoulders be armed with 
them ; it is enough to dippe our pens in inke, too much, 
to die them in blood. If it be greatnesse of courage, and 
th' effect of a rare and singular vertue, to neglect friend- 
ship, despise private respects and bonds ; ones word and 
kindred, for the comon good and obedience of the Magis- 
trate : it is verily able to excuse us from it, if we but 
alledge, that it is a greatnesse unable to lodge in the great- 
nesse of Epaminondas his courage. I abhorre the enraged 
admonitions of this other unruly spirit. 

— dum tela micant, non vos pietatis imago 
Ulla, nee advcrsa conspecti fronte parentes 
Coinmoveant, vultus gladio turhantc verendos. 

LucAN. vii. 320. Cai3. 

While swords are brandisht, let no shew of grace 
Once nioove you, nor your parents face to face, 
But with your swords disturbe their reverend grace. 

Let us bereave wicked, bloodie and traiterous disposi- 
tions, of this pretext of reason : leave we that impious and 
exorbitant justice, and adhere unto more humane imita- 
tions, Oh what may time and example bring to passe ! In 
an encounter of the civil warres against Cinna, one of 
Pompeyes souldiers, having unwittingly slaine his brother, 
who was on the other side, through shame and sorow pre- 
sently killed himselfe ; And some yeeres after, in another 
civill warre of the said people, a souldier boldly demanded 
a reward of his Captaines for killing his owne brother. 
Falsly doe wee argue honour, and the beautie of an action, 
by it's profit : and conclude as ill, to thinke every one is 
bound unto it, and that it is honest, if it be commodious. 

Omnia non pariier rerum sunt omnibus aptn. 

Pkoi'. iii. El. viii. 7. 

The Third Booke Chap. II 23 

All things alike to all 
Do not well-fitting fall. 

Choose we out the most necessary and most beneficiall 
matter of humane society, it will be a mariage : yet is it, 
that the Saints counsell findeth and deemeth the contrary 
side more honest, excluding from it the most reverend 
vocation of men : as wee to our races assigne such beasts 
as are of least esteeme. 


OF rp:penting 

Others fashion man, I repeat him ; and represent a 
particular one, but ill made; and whom were I to forme a 
new, he should be far other then he is ; but he is now 
made. And though the lines of my picture change and 
vary, yet loose they not themselves. The world runnes 
all on wheeles. All things therein moove without inter- 
mission ; yea the earth, the rockes of Caucasus, and the 
Pyramides of /Egypt, both with the publike and their own 
motion. Constancy it selfe is nothing but a languishing 
and oDa^vering dance. I cannot settle my object ; it goeth 
so unquietly and staggering, with a naturall drunkennesse. 
I take it in this plight, as it is at th' instant I ammuse 
my selfe about it. I describe not the essence, but the pas- 
sage; not a passage from age to age, or as the people 
reckon, from seaven yeares to seaven, but from day to day, 
from minute to minute. My history must be fitted to the 
present. I may soone change, not onely fortune, but in- 
tention. It is a counter-roule of divers and variable acci- 
dents, and irresolute imaginations, and sometimes con- 
trary : whether it be that my selfe am other, or that I 
apprehend subjects, by other circumstances and considera- 
tions. Howsoever, I may perhaps gaine-say my selfe, but 
truth (as Demades said) I never gaine-say : Were my 
mind setled, I would not essay, but resolve my selfe. It 
is still a Prentise and a probationer. I propose a meane 
life, and without luster : 'Tis all one. They fasten all 
morall Philosophy as well to a populiar and private life, as 
to one of richer stuff e. Every man beareth the whole 

24 Montaigne's Essayes 

stanipe of humane condition. Authors communicate them- 
selves unto the world by some speciall and strange marke ; 
I the first, by my generall disposition ; as Michael de Mon- 
taigne; not as a Grammarian, or a Poet, or a Lawyer. 
If the world complaine, I speake too much of my selfe, I 
complaine, it thinkes no more of it selfe. But is it reason, 
that being- so private in use, I should pretend to make my 
selfe publike in knowledge? Or is it reason, I should pro- 
duce into the world, where fashion and arte have such 
•sway and command, the raw and simple effects of nature; 
^nd of a nature as yet exceeding weake? To write bookes 
without learnings is it not to make a wall without stone or 
such like thing? Conceits of musicke are directed by arte ; 
mine by hap. Yet have I this according to learning, that 
never man handled subject, he understood or knew, better 
then I doe this I have undertaken ; being therein the cun- 
ningest man alive. 

Secondly, that never man waded further into his matter, 
nor more distinctly sifted the parts and dependances of it, 
nor arrived more exactly and fully to the end he proposed 
»unt© himselfe. To finish the same, I have needc of naught 
but faithfulnesse : which is therein as sincere and pure as 
xnay be found. I speake truth, not my belly-full, but as 
much as I dare : and I dare the more, the more I grow into 
yeares : for it seemeth, custome alloweth old age more 
liberty to babbel, and indiscretion to talke of It selfe. It 
■cannot herein be, as in trades : where the Crafts-man and 
Ills worke doe often differ. Being a man of so sound and 
honest conversation, writ he so foolishly? Are such 
learned writings come from a man of so weake a conversa- 
tion? who hath but an ordinary conceit, and writeth excel- 
lently, one may say his capacltie is borrowed, not of him- 
selfe. A skilfull man, is not skilfull In all things : But 
;a sufficient man, is sufficient every where, even unto. Ignor- 
ance. Here my booke and my selfe march together, and 
keepe one pace. Else-where one may commend or con- 
demne the worke, without the workeman ; heere not : who 
toucheth one toucheth the other. He who shall judge of it 
without knowing him, shal wrong himself more then me, 
he that knows it, hath wholly satisfied mee. Happie 
beyond my merite, if I get this onely portion of publike 
^pprobatioa, as I may cause men of understanding to 

The Third Booke Chap. II 25 

thinke, I had beene able to make use and benefit of learn- 
ingf, had I beene endowed with any : and deserved better 
helpe of memorie : excuse wee here what I often say, that 
I seldome repent my selfe, and that my conscience is con- 
tented with it selfe ; not of an Angels or a horses con- 
science, but as of a mans conscience. Adding ever this 
clause, not of ceremonie, but of true and essentiall sub- 
mission ; that I speake inquiring and douhiingy meerely and 
simply referring my selfe y from resolution^ unto common 
and law full opinions. I teach not ; I report : No vice is 
absolutely vice, which offendeth not, and a sound judge- 
ment accuseth not : For, the deformitie and incommoditie 
thereof is so palpable, as peradventure they have reason, 
who say, it is chiefly produced by sottishnesse and brought 
forth by ignorance ; so hard is it, to imagine one should 
know it without hating it. Malice sucks up the greatest 
part of her owne venome, and therewith impoysoneth her- 
selfe. Vice, leaveth, as an ulcer in the flesh, a repentance 
in the soule, which still scratcheth and bloodieth it selfe. 
For reason effaceth other griefes and sorrowes, but engen- 
dereth those of repentance : the more yrkesome, because 
inward : As the colde and heate of agues is more offensive 
then that which comes outward. I account vice (but each 
according to their measure) not onely those which reason 
disalowes, and nature condemnes, but such as mans opinion 
hath forged as false and erronious, if lawes and custome 
authorize the same. In like manner there is no goodnesse 
but gladdeth an honest disposition. There is truely I wot 
not what kinde of congratulation, of well doing, which 
rejoyceth in our selves, and a generous jollitie, that accom- 
panieth a good conscience. A minde couragiously vicious, 
may happily furnish it selfe with security, but shee cannot 
be fraught, with this selfe-[joying] delight and satisfaction. 
It is no smal pleasure, for one to feele himselfe preserved 
from the contagion of an age so infected as ours, and to 
say to himselfe ; could a man enter and see even into my 
soule, yet shold he not finde me guilty, either of the 
affliction or ruine of any body, nor culpable of envie or 
revenge, nor of publike offence against the lawes, nor 
tainted with innovation, trouble or sedition ; nor spotted 
vyith falsifying of my word : and although the libertie of 
times alowed and taught it every man, yet could I never 

III 44* B 

26 Montaigne's Essayes 

be induced to touch the goods or dive into the purse of any 
French man, and have ahvayes Hved upon mine own, as 
wel in time of war, as peace : nor did I ever make use of 
any poore mans labor, without reward. These testimonies 
of an unspotted conscience are very pleasing, which 
natural! joy is a great benefit unto us : and the onely pay- 
ment never faileth us. To ground the recompence of 
vertuous actions upon the approbation of others, is to 
undertake a most uncertaine or troubled foundation, 
namely in an age so corrupt and times so ignorant, as this 
is : the vulgar peoples good opinion is injurious. Whom 
trust you in seeing what is commendable? God keepe me 
from being an honest man, according to the description 
I dayly see made of honour, each one by himselfe. Qucb 
fuerant vitia, mores sunt. What earst were vices are now 
growne fashions. Some of my friends, have sometimes 
attempted to schoole me roundly, and sift me plainly, 
either of their owne motion, or envited by me, as to an 
office, which to a well composed minde, both in profit and 
lovingnesse, exceedeth all the duties of sincere amity. 
Such have I ever entertained with open armes of curtesie, 
and kinde acknowledgement. But now to speake from 
my conscience I often found so much false measure in 
their reproaches and praises, that I had not greatly erred 
if I had rather erred, then done well after their fashion. 
Such as we especially, who live a private life not exposed 
to any gaze but our owne, ought in our hearts establish 
a touch-stone, and there to touch our deedes and try our 
actions ; and accordingly, now cherish and now chastise 
our selves. I have my owne lawes and tribunall, to judge 
of mee, v^^hither I addresse my selfe more then any 
where els. I restraine my actions according to other 
but extend them according to my selfe. None but your 
self knows rightly v/hether you be demiss and cruel, or 
loyal and devout. Others see you not, but ghesse you by 
uncertaine conjectures. They see not so much your nature 
as your arte. Adhere not then to their opinion, but hold 
unto your owne. Tuo tibi judicio est utendum. Virtutis 
et viciorum grave ipsius conscienticB pondus est: qua sub- 
lata jacent omnia (Cic. Nat. Deor. iii.); You must use your 
owne judgement. The weight of the very conscience of 
vice and vertues is heavy: take that away, and al is downe. 

The Third Booke Chap. II 27 

But whereas it is said, that repentance neerely followeth 
sin, seemeth not to imply sinne placed in his rich aray, 
which lodgeth in us as in his proper mansion. One may 
disavow and disclaime vices, that surprise us, and whereto 
our passions transport us ; but those, which by long- habite 
are rooted in a strong, and ankred in a powerfull will, are 
net subject to contradiction. Repentance is hut a denying 
of our will, and an oppositio7i of our fantasies which diverts 
us here and there. It makes some disavow his former 
vertue and continencie. 

Qtice mens est hodie, cur eadefn non puero fuit, 
Vel cur his animis incolumes non redeunt geuw? 

HoR. Car. iv, Od. x. 7. 

Why was not in a youth same minde as now? 
Or why beares not this mind a youthfull brow? 

Tliat is an exquisite life^ which even in his owne private 
keepeth it selfe in awe and order. Every one may play 
the jug-ler, and represent an honest man upon the stage ; 
but within, and in bosome, where all things are lawfuU, 
where all is concealed ; to keepe a due rule or formall 
decorum, that's the point. The next degree, is to be so 
in ones owne home, and in his ordinary actions, whereof 
we are to give accoumpt to no body : wherein is no study, 
nor art. And therefore Bias describing the perfect state 
of a family, whereof (saith he) the maister, be such inwardly 
by himselfe, as he is outwardly, for feare of the lawes, and 
respect of mens speaches. And it was a worthy saying 
of Julius Drusus, to those worke-men, which for three 
thousand crownes, offered so to reforme his house, that 
his neighbours should no more over looke into it : I will 
give you sixe thousand (said he) and contrive it so, that 
on all sides every man may looke into it. The custome of 
Agesilaus is remembred with honour, who in his travaile 
was wont to take up his lodging in churches, that the 
people, and Gods themselves might pry into his private 
actions. Some have beene admirable to the world, in 
whom nor his wife, nor his servants ever noted any thing 
remarkeable. Few men have beene admired of their 
familiars. No man hath beene a Prophet, not onely in his 
house, but in his owne country, saith the experience of his- 
tories. Even so in things of nought. And in this base 
example, is the image of greatnesse discerned. In my 

28 Montaigne's Essayes 

climate of Gascoigne they deeme it a jest to see mee in 
print. The further the knowledge which is taken of mee 
is from my home, of so much more woorth am I. In 
Guienne I pay Printers ; in other places they pay mee. 
Upon this accident they ground, who living and present 
keepe close-lurking, to purchase credit when they shall be 
dead and absent. I had rather have lesse. And I cast 
not my selfe into the world, but for the portion I draw from 
it. That done, I quit it. The people attend on such a 
man with wonderment, from a publike act, unto his owne 
doores ; together with his roabes hee leaves of his part ; 
falling so much the lower, by how much higher hee was 
mounted. View him within, there all is turbulent, dis- 
ordered and vile. And were order and formality found in 
him, a lively, impartiall and well sorted judgement is re- 
quired, to perceive and fully to discerne him in these base 
and private actions. Considering that order is but a 
dumpish and drowsie vertue : To gaine a Battaile, per- 
fourme an Ambassage, and governe a people, are noble 
and woorthy actions ; to chide, laugh, sell, pay, love, hate, 
and mildely and justly to converse both with his owne and 
with himselfe ; not to relent, and not gaine-say himselfe, 
are thinges more rare, more difficult and lesse remarkeable. 

Retired lives sustaine that way, what ever some say, 
offices as much more crabbed, and extended, then other 
lives doe. And private men (saith Aristotle) serve vertue 
more hardly, and more highly attend her, then those which 
are magistrates or placed in authority. Wee prepare our 
selves unto eminent occasions, more for glory then for con- 
science. The nearest way to come unto glory ^ were to doe 
that for conscience, which wee doe for glory. And me 
seemeth the vertue of Alexander representeth much lesse 
vigor in her large Theater, then that of Socrates, in his 
base and obscure excercitation. I easily conceive Socrates, 
in the roome of Alexander ; Alexander in that of Socrates 
I cannot. If any aske the one, what hee can do, he will 
answere, Conquer the world; let the same question bee 
demanded of the other, he will say, leade my life conform- 
ably to it's natiirall condition; A science much more 
generous, more important, and more lawfull. 

The woorth of the minde consisteth not in going high, 
hut in marching orderly. Her greatnesse is not excercised 

The Third Booke Chap. II 29 

in grcatnesse ; in medlocritye it is. As those, which judg^e 
and touch us inwardely, make no grreat accoumpt of the 
brig-htnesse of our pubHque actions : and see they are but 
strcakes and poyntes of cleare Water, suri^ing from a bot- 
tome, otherwise slimie and full of mud : So those who 
judg-e us by this gay outward apparance, conclude the 
same of our inward constitution, and cannot couple popular 
faculties as theirs are, unto these other faculties, which 
amaze them so farre from their levell. So do we attribute 
savage shapes and ougly formes unto divels. As who 
doeth not ascribe high-raised eye-browes, open nostrils, a 
Sterne frightfull visage, and a huge-body unto Tainher- 
lame, as is the forme or shape of the imagination we have 
fore-conceived by the bruite of his name? Had any here- 
tofare shewed me Erasmus, I could hardly had bin induced 
to think, but whatsoever he had said to his boy or hostes, 
had been Adages and Apothegmes. We imagine much 
more fitly an Artificer upon his close stoole or on his wife, 
then a great judge, reverend for his carriage and regardfull 
for his sufficiencie ; we think, that from those high thrones 
they should not abase themselves so low, as to live. As 
vitious mindes are often incited to do well by some strange 
impulsion, so are vertuous spirits mooved to do ill. They 
must then be judged by their settled estate, when they are 
neare themselves, and as we say, at home, if at any time 
they be so ; or when they are nearest unto rest, and in their 
naturall seate. Naturall inclinations are by institution 
helped and strengthned, but they neither change nor 
exceed. A thousand natures in my time, have a thwart a 
contrary discipline, escaped toward vertue or toward vice. 

Sic uhi desuetce silvis in car cere clauscr, 
Mansuevere ferce, et vultus posuere minaces, 
Atque hotninem didicere pati, si torrida parvus 
Venit in ora cruor, redcunt rahiesque furorque, 
Admonitceque Utment gustato sanguine fauces, 
Fervet, et a trepido vix abstinet irce magistro. 

LucAN. iv, 237. 

So when wilde beasts, disused from the wood, 
Fierce lookes laid-dcwne, grow tame, closde in a cage 
Taught to beare man, if then a little blood 
Touch their hot lips, furie returnes and rage ; 
Their jawes by taste admonisht swell with vaines, 
Rage boyles, and from faint keeper scarse abstaines. 

30 Montaigne's Essayes 

These originall qualities are not grubd out, they are but 
covered, and hidden : The Latine tongue is to me in a 
manner naturall ; I understand it better then French ; but 
it is now fortie yeares, I have not made use of it to spealve, 
nor much to vi^rite : yet in some extreame emotions and 
suddaine passions, wherein I have twice or thrice falne, 
since my years of discretion ; and namely once, when my 
father being- in perfect health, fell all along- upon me in a 
swoune, I have ever, even from my very hart uttered my 
first words in latine : Nature rushing- and by force express- 
ing it selfe, ag-ainst so long a custome ; the like example 
is alleadged of divers others. Those which in my tiniey 
have attempted to correct the fashions of tJie world by new 
opinions, reforme the vices of apparance ; those of essence 
they leave untouched if they encrease them not: And their 
encrease is much to be feared. We willingly protract al 
other well-doing upon these externall reformations, of lesse 
cost, and of greater merit ; whereby we satisfie good 
cheape, other naturall consubstantiall and intestine vices. 
Looke a little into the course of our experience. There is 
no man (if he listen to himselfe) that doth not discover in 
himselfe a peculiar forme of his, a swaying forme, which 
wrestleth against the institution, and against the tempests 
of passions, which are contrary unto him. As for me, I 
feele not my selfe much agitated by a shocke ; I commonly 
finde my selfe in mine owne place, as are sluggish and 
lumpish bodies. If I am not close and neare unto my 
selfe, I am never farre-off : My debauches or excesses 
transport me not much. There is nothing extreame and 
strange : yet have I sound fits and vigorous lusts. The 
true condemnation, and which toucheth the common 
fashion of our men, is, that their very retreate is full of 
corruption and filth : The Idea of their amendment blurred 
and deformed ; their repentance crazed and faultie very 
neere as much as their sinne. Some, either because they 
are so fast and naturally joyned unto vice, or through long 
custome, have lost all sense of its uglinesse. To others (of 
whose ranke I am) vice is burthenous, but they counter- 
ballance it with pleasure, or other occasions : and suffer it, 
and at a certaine rate lend themselves unto it^ though 
basely and viciously. Yet might happily so remote a dis- 
proportion of measure bee imagined, where with justice. 

The Third Booke Chap. II 31 

the pleasure might excuse the offence, as we say of profit. 
Not onely being accidentall, and out of sinne, as in thefts, 
but even in the very exercise of it, as in the acquaintance 
or copulation with women ; where the provocation is so 
violent, and as they say, sometime unresistable. In a 
towne of a kinsman of mine, the other day, being in 
ArmignaCy I saw a country man, commonly sirnamed the 
Theefe : who himselfe reported his life to have beene thus. 
Being borne a begger, and perceiving, that to get his bread 
by the sweate of his browe and labour of his hands, would 
never sufficiently arme him against penury, he resolved to 
become a Theefe ; and that trade had employed all his 
youth safely, by meanes of his bodily strength : for he 
ever made up Harvest and Vintage in other mens grounds ; 
but so farre off, and in so great heapes, that it was beyond 
imagination, one man should in one night carry away so 
much upon his shoulders : and was so carefull to equall 
the pray, and disperce the mischiefe he did, that the spoile 
was of lesse import to every particular man. 

Hee is now in old yeares indifferently rich ; for a man 
of his condition (Godamercy his trade) which he is not 
ashamed to confesse openly. And to reconcile himselfe 
with God, he affirmeth, to be dayly ready, with his get- 
tings, and other good turnes, to satisfie the posterity of 
those hee hath heretofore wronged or robbed ; which if 
himselfe bee not of abilitie to performe (for hee cannot do 
all at once) hee will charge his heires withall, according to 
the knowledge he hath, of the wrongs by him done to 
every man. By this description, bee it true or false, he 
respecteth theft, as a dishonest and unlawfull action, and 
hateth the same : yet lesse then pinching want : He repents 
but simply ; for in regard it was so counterballanced and 
recompenced, he repenteth not. That is not that habit 
which incorporates us unto vice, and confirmeth our under- 
standing in it ; nor is it that boysterous winde, which by 
violent blastes dazeleth and troubleth our mindes, and at 
that time confoundes, and overwhelmes both us, our judge- 
ment, and all into the power of vice. What I doe, is ordi- 
narily full and compleate, and I march (as wee say) all in 
one pace : I have not many motions, that hide themselves 
and siinke away from my reason, or which very neare are 
not guided by the consent of all my partes, without 

32 Montaigne's Essayes 

division, or intestine sedicion : my judgement hath the 
whole blame, or commendation ; and the blame it hath 
once, it hath ever : for, almost from it's birth, it hath beene 
one of the same inclination, course and force. And in 
matters of generall opinions, even from my infancy, I 
ranged my selfe to the point I was to hold. Some sinnes 
there are outra-gious, violent and suddaine ; leave we them. 

But those other sinnes, so often reassumed, determined 
and advised upon, whether they be of complexion, or of 
profession and calling, I cannot conceive how they should 
so long be settled in one same courage, unlesse the reason 
and conscience of the sinner were thereunto inwardly privie 
and constantly willing. And how to imagine or fashion 
the repentance therof, which he vanteth, doth some times 
visit him, seemeth somewhat hard unto me. I am not of 
Pythagoras Sect, that men take a new soule, when to 
receive Oracles, they approach the images of Gods, unlesse 
he would say with all, that it must be a strange one, new, 
and lent him for the time : our owne, giving so little signe 
of purification, and cleanesse worthie of that office. They 
doe altogether against the Stoycall precepts, which appoint 
us to correct the imperfections and vices we finde in our 
selves, but withall forbid us to disturbe the quiet of our 
minde. They make us beleeve, they feele great remorse, 
and are inwardly much displeased with sinne ; but of 
amendment, correction or intermission, they shew us none. 
Surely there can be no perfect health; Where the disease 
is not perfectly remooved. Were repentance put in the 
scale of the ballance, it would weigh downe sinne. / finde 
no humour so easie to he counterfeited as Devotion: If one 
conforme not his life and conditions to it, her essence is 
abstruse and concealed, her apparance gentle and stately. 

For my part, I may in generall wish to be other then 
I am ; I may condemne and mislike my universall forme ; 
I may beseech God to grant me an undefiled reformation, 
and excuse my naturall weaknesse ; but mee seemeth I ought 
not to tearme this repentance no more then the displeasure 
of being neither Angell nor Cato. My actions are squared 
to what I am and [conformed] to my condition. I cannot 
doe better : And repentance doth not properly concerne 
what is not in our power; sorrow doth. I may imagine 
infinite dispositions of a higher pitch, and better governed 

The Third Booke Chap. II 33 

then myne, yet doe I nothing better my faculties ; no more 
then mine arme becommeth stronger, or my wit more 
excellent, by conceiving- some others to be so. If to sup- 
pose and wish a more nobler working- then ours, might 
produce the repentance of our owne, wee should then repent 
us of our most innocent actions : for so much as we judge 
that in a more excellent nature, they had beene directed 
with greater perfection and dignity ; and our selves would 
doe the like. When I consult with my age of my youthes 
proceedings, I finde that commonly, (according to my 
opinion) I managed them in order. This is all my resist- 
ance is able to performe. I flatter not my selfe : in like 
circumstances, I should ever be the same. It is not a spot, 
but a whole dye that staynes mee. I acknowledge no 
repentance, [that] is superficial!, meane and ceremonious. 
It must touch me on all sides, before I can terme it repent- 
ance. It must pinch my entrailes, and afflict them as 
deepely and throughly, as God himselfe beholds mee. 
When in negotiating, many good fortunes have slipt me 
for want of good discretion, yet did my projects make good 
choyce, according to the occurrences presented unto them. 
Their manner is ever to take the easier and surer side. I 
finde that in my former deliberations, I proceeded, after 
my rules, discreetely for the subjects state propounded to 
mee ; and in like occasions, would proceede alike a hundred 
yeares hence. I respect not what now it is, but what it 
was, when I consulted of it. The consequence of all 
dessignes consists in the seasons; occasions passe, and 
matters change uncessantly. I have in my time runne into 
some grosse, absurde and important errors; not for want 
of good advise, but of good happe. There are secret and 
indivinable parts in the objects men doe handle ; especially 
in the nature of men and mute conditions, without shew, 
and sometimes unknowne of the very possessors, produced 
and stirred up by suddaine occasions. If my wit could 
neyther finde nor presage them, I am not offended with it; 
the function thereof is contained within it's owne limits. 
If the successe [beate] me, and favour the side I refused ; 
there is no remedy ; I fall not out with my selfe : I accuse 
my fortune, not my endevour : that's not called repent- 
ance. Phocion had given the Athenians some counsel], 
which was not followed : the matter, against his opinion, 

34 Montaigne's Essayes , . 

succeeding- happily : How now Phocion, (quoth one) art 
thou pleased the matter hath thrived so well? yea (said 
hee) and I am glad of it, yet repent not the advise I gave. 

When any of my friends come to me for counsell, I 
bestow it francklie and clearelie, not (as well-nig-h all the 
world doth,) wavering- at the hazard of the matter, whereby 
the contrary of my meaning- may happen : that so they m.ay 
justly finde fault with my advise : for which I care not 
greatly. For they shall doe me wrong, and it became not 
mee to refuse them that dutie. I have no body to blame 
for my faults or misfortunes, but my self. For in effect I 
seldome use the advise of other unlesse it be for comple- 
ment sake, and where I have need of instruction or know- 
ledge of the fact. Marry in thiags wherein noug-ht but 
judgement is to be employed ; strange reasons may serve 
to sustaine, but not to divert me. I lend a favourable and 
courteous eare unto them all. But (to my remembrance) 
I never beleeved any but mine owne. With me. they are 
but Flyes and Moathes, which distract my will. I little 
regard mine owne opinions, other mens I esteeme as little : 
Fortune payes mee accordingfly. If I take no. counsell I 
give as little. I am not much sought after for it, and 
lesse credited when I give it : Neither know I any enter- 
prise, either private or publike, that my advise hath 
directed and brought to conclusion. Even those whom 
fortune had some-way tyde thereunto, have more willingly 
admitted the direction of others conceits, then mine. As 
one that am as jealous of the rights of my quiet, as of 
those of my authority ; I would rather have it thus. ) 

Where leaving me, they jumpe with my professioh, 
which is, wholly to settle and containe me in my selfe. It 
is a pleasure unto mee, to bee disinteressed of other mens 
alTayres, and disingaged from their contentions. W^hen 
sutes or businesses bee over-past, how-so-ever it bee, I 
greeve little at them. For, the imagination that they must 
necessarily happen so, puts mee out of paine ; Behould 
them in the course of the Universe, and enchained in 
Stoycall causes. Your fantazie cannot by wish or imagina- 
tion, remoove one point of them, but the whole order of 
things must reverse both what is past, and what is to 
come. Moreover, I hate that accidental! repentance which 
olde age brings with it. 

The Third Booke Chap. II 35 

Hee that in ancient times said, he was beholden to 
yeares, because they had ridde him of voluptuousnesse,was 
not of mine opinion. I shall never give impuissance 
thankes, for any good it can do me. Nee tarn aversa 
unquam videhitur ah opere siio providential ut debilitas 
inter optima inventa sit. Nor shall fore sight ever hee 
seene so averse from hir owne worke, that weakenesse hee 
found to bee one of the best things. Our appetites are 
rare in olde-age : the blowe over-passed, a deepe saciety 
seazeth upon us : Therein I see no conscience. Fretting 
care and weakenesse, imprint in us an effeminate and 
drowzie vertue. 

Wee must not suffer our selves so fully to bee carried 
into naturall alterations, as to corrupt or adulterate our 
judgement by them. Youth and pleasure have not hereto- 
fore prevailed so much over me, but I could ever (even in 
the midst of sensualities) discerne the ugly face of sinne : 
nor can the distaste which yeares bring on me, at this 
instant, keepe mee from discerning that of voluptuous- 
nesse in vice. Now I arii no longer in it, I judge of it as 
if I were still there. 1 who lively and attentively examine 
my reason, finde it to be the same that possessed me in 
my most dissolute and licentious age ; unlesse perhaps, 
they being enfeebled and empiayred by yeares, doe make 
some difference : And finde, that what delight it refuseth 
to affoorde mee in regarde of my bodilie health, it would 
no more denie mee, then in times past, for the health of my 
soule. To see it out of combate, I holde it not the more 
couraglous. My temptations are so mortified and crazed, 
as they are not worthy of it's oppositions; holding but my 
hand before me, I be-calme them. Should one present 
that former concupiscence unto it, I feare it would be of 
lesse power to sustaine it than heretofore it hath beene. I 
see in it, by it selfe no increase of judgement, nor accesse 
of brightnesse, what it now judgeth, it did then. Where- 
fore if there be any amendment, 'tis but diseased. Oh 
miserable kinde of remedie, to bee beholden unto sicknesse 
for our health. It is not for our mishap, but for the good 
successe of our judgement to performe this office. Crosses 
and afflictions, make me doe nothing but curse them. 
They are for people, that cannot bee awaked but by the 
whip : the course of my reason is the nimbler in prosperity ; 

36 Montaigne's Essayes 

It is much more distracted and busied in the digesting^ of 
mischiefes, than of delig-hts. I see much clearer in faire 
weather. Health forevvarneth me, as with more pleasure, 
so to better purpose than sicknesse. I approached thcj 
nearest I could unto amendment and regularity, when Ij 
should have enjoyed the same; I should be ashamed and 
vexed, that the misery and mishap of my old age could 
exceede the health, attention and vigor of my youth : and 
that I should be esteemed, not for what I have beene, but 
for what I am leaft to be. The happy life (in my opinion) 
not (as said Antisthenes) the happy death, is it that makes 
mans happinesse in this world. 

I have not preposterously busied my selfe to tie the taile 
of a Philosopher, unto the head and bodie of a varlet : nor 
that this paultrie ende, should disavow and belie the fairest, 
soundest, and longest part of my life. I will present my 
selfe, and make a generall muster of my whole, every where 
uniformally. Were I to live againe, it should be as I have 
already lived. I neither deplore what is past, nor dread 
what is to come : and if I be not deceived, the inward 
parts have neerely resembled the outward. It is one of 
the chiefest points wherein I am beholden to fortune, that 
in the course of my bodies estate, each thing hath beene 
carried in season. I have scene the leaves, the blossomes, 
and the fruit ; and now see the drooping and withering 
of it. Happily, because naturally. I beare my present 
miseries the more gently, because they are in season, and 
with greater favour make me remember the long happinesse 
of my former life. In like manner, my discretion may 
well bee of like proportion in the one and the other time : 
but sure it was of much more performance, and had a better 
grace, being fresh, jolly and full of spirit, then now that it 
is worne, decrepite and toylesome. 

I therefore renounce these casuall and dolourous reforma- 
tions. God must touch our heartes ; our conscience must 
amende of it seljcy and not by reinforcement of our reason, 
nor by the enfeebling of our appetites. Voluptuousnesse 
in it selfe is neither pale nor discouloured, to bee discerned 
by bleare and troubled eyes. Wee should affect temper- 
ance and chastity for it selfe, and for Gods cause, who 
hath ordained them unto us : that which Catars bestow 
upon us, and which I am beholden to my chollicke [for, is] 

The Third Booke Chap. Ill 37 

neither temperance nor chastitie. A man cannot boast of 
contemning' or combating sensuality, if hee see her not, or 
know not her grace, her force and most attractive beauties. 
I know them both, and therefore may speake it. But mee 
thinks our soules in age are subject unto more importunate 
diseases and imperfections, then they are in youth. I said 
so being young, when my beardlesse chinne was upbraided 
me ; and I say it againe, now that my gray beard gives me 
authority. We entitle wisdome, the frowardnesse of our 
humours, and the distaste of present things ; but in truth 
wee abandon not vices, so much as we change them ; and in 
mine opinion for the worse. Besides a sillie and ruinous 
pride, combersome tattle, wayward and unsotiable humours, 
superstition and a ridiculous carking for wealth, when the 
use of it is well-nigh lost, I finde the more envie, injustice 
and leaudnesse in it. It sets more wrinckles in our mindes, 
then on our foreheads : nor are there any spirits, or very 
rare ones, which in growings old taste not sowrely and 
mustily. Man marcheth entirely towards his increase and 
decrease. View but the wisedome of Socrates, and divers 
circumstances of his condemnation, I dare say he somethings 
lent himselfe unto it by prevarication of purpose : being so 
neere, and at the age of seventy, to endure the benumming- 
of his spirits richest pace, and the dimming of his accus- 
tomed brightnesse. What Metamorphoses have I scene 
it daily make in divers of mine acquaintances? It is a 
powerfull maladie, which naturally and imperceptibly 
glideth unto us : There is required great provision of study, 
heed and precaution, to avoid the imperfections wherewith 
it chargeth us; or at least to weaken their further pro- 
gresse. I finde that notwithstanding all my entrenchings, 
by little and little it getteth ground upon me : I hold out as 
long as I can, but know not whither at length it will bring 
me. Happe what happe will, I am pleased the world know 
from what height I tumbled. 



We must not cleave so fast unto our humours and dis- 
positions. Our chiefest sufficiency is, to apply our selves 

38 Montaigne's Essayes 

to divers fashions. It is a being, but not a life, to bee tied 
and bound by necessity to one onely course. The goodliest 
mindes are those that have most variety and pliablenesse in 
them. Behold an honourable testimony of old Cato : Huic 
versatile ingenium sic pariter ad omnia fuit, ut natum ad 
id unum diceres, quodcunque ageret (Liv. Bel. Mac. ix.). 
He had a wit so turneahle for all things alike, as one 
would say hee had heene onely borne for that hee went 
about to do. Were I to dresse my selfe after mine ovvne 
manner, there is no fashion so good, whereto I would be so 
affected or tied, as not to know how to leave and loose it. 
Life is a motion unequall, irregular and multiforme. It is 
not to bee the friend (lesse the master) but the slave of ones 
selfe to follow uncessantly, and bee so addicted to his 
inclinations, as hee cannot stray from them, nor wrest 
them. This I say now, as being extreamly pestred with 
the importunity of my minde, forsomuch as shee cannot 
ammuse her selfe, but whereon it is busied; nor employ it 
selfe, but bent and whole. How light soever the subject 
is one gives it, it willingly amplifieth, and wire-drawes the 
same, even unto the highest pitch of toile. It's idlenesse is 
therefore a painefull trade unto mee, and offensive to my 
health. Most wits have neede of extravagant stuffe, to 
un-benumme and exercise themselves : mine hath neede 
of it, rather to settle and continue it selfe : Vitia otii negotio 
discutienda sunt (Sen. Ep. Ivi.), The vices of idlenesse 
should bee shaken off with businesse : For, the most labori- 
ous care and principall studie of it, is, to studie it selfe. 
Bookes are one of those businesses that seduce it from 
studie. At the first thoughts that present themselves, it 
rouzeth up and makes proofe of all the vigour it hath. It 
exerciseth it's function sometimes toward force, sometimes 
towards order and comelinesse, it rangeth, moderates and 
fortifieth. It hath of it selfe to awaken the faculties of it : 
Nature having given it, as unto all other, matter of it's 
owne for advantage, subjects fit enough whereon to devise 
and determine. Meditation is a large and powerfull study 
to such as vigorously can taste and employ themselves 
therein. I had rather forge then furnish my minde. 

There is no office or occupation either weaker or stronger, 
then that of entertaining of ones thoughts according to 
the mind, whatsoever it be. The greatest make it their 

The Third Booke Chap. Ill 39 

vacation, Quihus vivere est cogitare, to whom it is all one 
to live and to meditate. Nature hath also favoured it with 
this priviledge, that there is nothing' we can do so long : 
nor action, whereto we give our selves more ordinarily and 
easily. It is the worke of Gods (said Aristotle) whence 
both their happinesse and ours proceedeth. Reading 
serves mee especially, to awake my conceit by divers 
objects : to busie my judgement, not my memory. Few 
entertainements then, stay mee without vigour and force. 
T'is true that courtesie and beautie possesse mee, as much 
or more, then waight and depth. And because I slumber 
in all other communications, and lend but the superficial! 
parts of my attention unto them, it often befalleth mee, in 
such kinde of weake and absurd discourses, (discourses of 
countenance) to blurt out and answer ridiculous toies, and 
fond absurdities, unworthy a childe ; or wilfully to hold my 
peace ; therewithall more foolishly and incivilly. I have a 
kind of raving fancie-full behaviour, that retireth mee into 
my selfe; and on the other side, a grosse and childish 
ignorance of many ordinary things ; by meanes of which 
two qualities, I have in my daies committed five or six as 
sottish trickes, as any one whosoever ; which to my deroga- 
tion may bee reported. But to follow my purpose, this 
harsh complexion of mine makes me nice in conversing 
with men (whom I must picke and cull out for the nonce) 
and unfit for common actions. Wee live and negotiate 
with the people : If their behaviour importune us, if wee 
disdaine to lend our selves to base and vulgar spirits, which 
often are as regular as those of a finer mould ; and all wise- 
dome is unsavourie^ that is not conformed to common 
insipience. Wee are no longer to intermeddle either with 
our, or other mens affaires : and both publicke and private 
forsake such kinde of people. 

The least wrested, and most naturall proceedings of our 
minde, are the fairest; the best occupations, those which 
are least forced. Good God, how good an office doth wise- 
dome unto those, whose desires she squareth according to 
their power ! There is no science more profitable. As one 
may, was the burden and favoured saying of Socrates: A 
sentence of great substance. Wee must addresse and stay 
our desires, to things most easie and neerest. It is not a 
fond-peevish humour in mee, to disagree from a thousand ; 

40 Montaigne's Essayes 

to whom my fortune joineth mee, without whom I cannot 
live, to adhere unto one or two, that are out of my com- 
merce and [conversation] ; or rather to a fantasticall con- 
ceit, or fancie-full desire, for a thing- I cannot obtaine? 
My soft behaviours and milde manners, enemies to all 
sharpnesse and foes to all bitternesse, may easily have dis- 
charg-ed mee from envie and contention. To bee beloved, 
I say not, but not to be hated, never did man give more 
occasion. But the coldnesse of my conversation, hath 
with reason robd mee of the good will of many ; which may 
bee excused, if they interpret the same to other, or worse 
sense. I am most capable of getting^ rare amities, and 
continuing exquisite acquaintances. For so [much] as 
with so greedie hunger I snatch at such acquaintances as 
answer my taste and square with my humour. I so greedily 
produce and headlong cast my selfe upon them, that I do 
not easily misse to cleave unto them, and where I light on, 
to make a steady impression ; I have often made happie 
and successefull triall of it. 

In vulgar worldly friendships, I am somewhat cold and 
barren : for my proceeding is not naturall, if not unresisted 
and with hoised-full sailes. Moreover, my fortune having 
enured and allured mee, even from my infancie, to one sole 
singular and perfect amitie, hath verily, in some sort, dis- 
tasted mee from others : and over deeply imprinted in my 
fantasie, that it is a beast sociable and for companie, and 
not of troupe, as said an ancient writer. So that it is 
naturally a paine unto mee, to communicate my selfe by 
halves, and with modification : and that servile or sus- 
picious wisedome, which in the conversation of these 
numerous and imperfect amities, is ordained and proposed 
unto us : Prescribed in these dayes especially. Wherein one 
cannot speake of the world hut dangerously or falsely. Yet 
I see, that who (as I do) makes for his ende, the com- 
modities of his life (I meane essentiall commodities) must 
avoide as a plague, these difficulties and qualntnesse of 

I should commend a high-raysed minde, that could both 
bende and discharge it selfe : that where-ever hir fortune 
might transport hir, shee might continue constant : that 
could discourse with hir neighbours of all matters, as of hir 
building, of hir hunting and of any quarrel! ; and entertaine 

The Third Booke Chap. Ill 41 

\with delight a Carpenter or a Gardiner. I envie those 
iwhich can be familiar with the meanest of their followers, 
and vouchsafe to contract friendship, and frame discourse 
With their owne servants. Nor do I like the advise of 
jp/aio, ever to speake imperiously unto our attendants, 
v^ithout blithnesse and sance any familiarity : be it to men 
or women servants. For, besides my reason, it is inhuman- 
ity, and injustice, to attribute so much unto that prerogfa- 
tive of fortune : and the governement, where lesse in- 
equality is permitted betweene the servant and master, is, 
in my conceite the more indifferent. Some other study to 
rouze and raise their minde; but I to abase and prostrate 
mine : it is not faulty but in extension. 

Narras et genus yEaci, 

Et pugnata sacro bella sub Ilio. 

Quo Chium pretio cadutn 

Mercemur, quis aquatn temperet ignibuSj 

Quo prccbente dontum, et quota 

Felignis cateam frigortbus, taces. 

HoR. Car. iii. Od. xix. 3. 

You tell of Macus the pedegree ; 
The warres at sacred Troye you do display, 
You tell not at what price a hogs-head we 
May buy of the best Wine ; who shall allaye 
Wine-fire with water, at whose house to holde, 
At what a-clock, I may be kept from colde. 

Even as the Lacedemonian valour had neede of modera- 
tion, and of sweet and pleasing- sounds of Flutes, to flatter 
and allay it in time of warre, least it should runne head- 
long into rashnesse and fury : whereas all other nations 
use commonly pearcing sounds and strong shouts, which 
violently excite, and enflame their souldiers courage : so 
thinke I (against ordinary custome) that in the imployment 
of our spirit, wee have for the most part more need of 
leade then wings ; of coldnesse and quiet, then of heate and 
agitation. Above all, in my mind, The onely way to playe 
the foole welly is to seeme wise among fooles : to speake 
as though ones tongue were ever bent to Favela/r' in punta 
] diforchetta (Ital. Prov.), To syllabize or speake minsingly. 
One must lend himselfe unto those hee is with, and some- 
times affect ignorance : Set force and subtiltie aside ; In 
common employments 'tis enough to reserve order ; dragge 
your selfe even close to the ground, [if] they will have it 

42 Montaigne's Essayes 

so. The learned stumble willingly on this blocke : making 
continuall muster, and open show of their skill, and dis- 
persing- their bookes abroade : And have in these dayes sc 
filled the closets, and possessed the eares of Ladyes, tha: 
if they retaine not their substance, at least they have their 
countenance : using in all sorts of discourse and subject 
how base or popular soever, a newe, an affected and 
learned fashion of speaking and writing. 

Hoc scrmone pavent, hoc iram, gaudia, ctiras, 
Hoc cuncta effundunt animi seer eta, quid ultra ? 
Concumbunt docte. — Juven, Sat. vi. 189. 

They in this language feare, in this they fashion 

Their joyes, their cares, their rage, their inward passion ; 

What more? they learned are in copulation. 

And alledge Plato, and Saint Thomas for things, which 
the first man they meete would decide as well, and stand 
for as good a witnesse. Such learning as could not enter 
into their minde, hath staid on their tongues. If the well- 
borne will give any credit unto me, they shall be pleased to 
make their own and naturall riches to prevaile and be of 
worth : They hide and shroud their formes under forraine 
and borrowed beauties : It is great simplicity, for any body 
to smoother and conceale his owne brightnesse, to shine 
with a borrowed light: They are buried and entombed 
under the Arte of CAPSULA TOT.E, It is because they do 
not sufficiently know themselves : the world containes 
nothing of more beauty : It is for them to honour Artes, 
and to beautifie embellishment. What neede they more 
then to live beloved and honoured? They have, and know 
but too much in that matter. There needes but a little 
rouzing and enflaming of the faculties that are in them. 

When I see them medling with Rhetoricke, with Law, 
and with Logicke, and such like trash, so vaine and un-' 
profitable for their use : I enter into feare, that those who 
advise them to such things, doe it, that they may have more 
law to governe them under that pretence. For, what other 
excuse can I devise for them? It is sufficient, that with- 
out us, they may frame, or roule the grace of their eyes, 
unto cheerefulnesse, unto severity, and unto mildnesse : 
and season a No with frowardnesse, with doubt and with 
favour ; and require not an interpretor in discourses made' 
for their service. With this learning they command v/ith« 

The Third Booke Chap. Ill 43 

\out controule, and over-rule both Regents and Schooles. 
\Yet if it offend them to yeeld us any preheminence and 
Would for curiosity sake have part in bookes also : Poesie 
is a study fit for their purpose : being a wanton, ammusing, 
iubtill, disguised, and pratling Arte; all in delight, all in 
shew, like to themselves. They may also select divers 
commodities out of History. In Morall Philosophy, they 
may take the discourses which enable them to judge of our 
humours, to censure our conditions, and to avoide our 
guiles and treacheries ; to temper the rashnesse of their 
owne desires, to husband their liberty : lengthen the de- 
lights of life, gently to beare the inconstancy of a servant, 
the peevishnesse or rudenesse of a husband, the importunity 
of yeares, the unwelcomnesse of wrinkles, and such like 
minde-troubling accidents. Loe here the most and great- 
est share of learning I would assigne them. There are 
some particular, retired and close dispositions. 

My essential! forme is fit for communication, and proper 
for production : I am all outward and in apparance ; borne 
for society and unto friendship. The solitude I love and 
commend, is especially but to retire my affections and 
redeeme my thoughts unto my selfe : to restraine and close 
up, not my steppes, but my desires and my cares, resign- 
ing all forraigne solicitude and trouble, and mortally shun- 
ning all manner of servitude and obligation ; and not so 
much the throng of men as the importunity of affaires. 
Locall solitarinesse (to say trueth) doth rather extend and 
enlarge me outwardly ; I give my selfe to State-businesse, 
and to the world, more willingly when I am all alone. At 
the court, and in presse of people, I close and slinke into 
mine owne skinne. Assemblies thrust mee againe into my 
selfe. And I never entertaine my selfe so fondly, so licenti- 
ously, and so particularly, as in places of respect, and cere- 
monious discretion. Our follies make mee not laugh, but 
our wisdomes doe. Of mine owne complexion, I am no 
enemy to the agitations and stirrings of our Courts : I have 
there past great part of my life : and am inured to bee merry 
in great assemblies ; so it be by intermission, and sutable 
to my humour. 

But this tendernesse and coinesse of judgement (whereof 
I speake) doth perforce tie me unto solitarinesse. Yea 
even in mine owne house, in the middest of a numerous 

44 Montaigne's Essayes 

family and most frequented houses, I see people more then 
a good many, but seldome such as I love to converse or 
communicate withall. And there I reserve, both for my 
selfe, and others, an unaccustomed liberty; making truce 
with ceremonies, assistance, and invitings, and such other 
troublesome ordinances of our courtesies (O servile custome 
and importunate manner) there every man demeaneth him- 
selfe as hee pleaseth, and entertaineth what his thoughts 
affect : whereas I keepe my selfe silent, meditating and 
close, without offence to my guests or friends. 

The men whose familiarity and society I hunt after, are 
those which are called honest, vertuous and sufficient : the 
image of whom doth distaste and divert mee from others. 
It is (being rightly taken) the rarest of our formes ; and a 
forme or fashion chiefly due unto nature. 

The end or scope of this commerce, is principally and 
simply familiarity, conference and frequentation : the exer- 
cise of mindes, without other fruite. In our discourses, all 
subjects are alike to me : I care not though they want either 
waight or depth ; grace and pertinency are never wanting ; 
all therein Is tainted with a ripe and constant judgement, 
and commixt with goodnesse, liberty, cheerefulnesse, and 
kindnesse. It is not onely in the subject of Laws and 
affaires of Princes, that our spirit shev/eth it's beautie, 
grace and vigor : It sheweth them as much in private con- 
ferences. I know my people by their very silence and smyl- 
Ing, and peradventure discover them better at a Table, then 
sitting in serious counsell. 

Hippomacus said, hee discerned good Wrestlers but by 
seeing them march through a Street. If learning vouchsafe 
to step into our talke, shee shall not be refused; yet must 
, not shee be sterne, mastring, imperious and importunate, 
as commonly shee is; but assistant, and docile of hir selfe. 
Therein wee seeke for nothing but recreation and pastime : 
when we shall looke to be Instructed, taught and resolved, 
we will go seeke and sue to hir in hir Throne. Let hir If 
she please keepe from us at that time ; for, as commodious 
and pleasing as shee is : I presume that for a neede we 
could spare hir presence, and doe our businesse well-enough 
without hir. Wits well borne, soundly bred and exercised 
in the practise and commerce of men, become gracious and 
plausible of themselves. Arte is but the Checke-roule, and 

The Third Booke Chap. Ill 45 

\Register of the Productions uttered, and conceites produced 
Iby them. 

1 The company of faire, and society of honest women is 
likewise a sweet commerce for me : Nam nos quoque 
oculos eruditos hahemus (Cic. Parad.), for we also have 
learned eyes. If the minde have not so much to solace hir- 
selfe, as in the former; the corporall sences, whose part 
is more in the second, bring it to a proportion neere unto 
the other ; although in mine opinion not equall. But it is a 
society wherein it behooveth a man somewhat to stand upon 
his guard : and especially those that are of a strong con- 
stitution, and whose body can do much, as in me. In my 
youth I heated my selfe therein and was very violent : and 
indured all the rages and furious assaults, which Poets say 
happen to those who without order or discretion abandon 
themselves over-loosly and riotously unto it. True it is 
indeed, that the same lash hath since stood me instead of 
an instruction. 

Ouicunque Argolico de classe Capharea fugit, 
Semper ab Euboicis vela retorquet aquis. 

Ovid. Trist. i. El. i. 83. 
Greeke Sailers that Capharean Rockes did fly, 
From the Euboean Seas their sailes still ply. 

It is folly to fasten all ones thoughts upon it, and with 
a furious and indiscreet affection to engage himselfe unto 
it : But on the otherside, to meddle with it without love or 
bond of affection, as Comedians do, to play a common part 
of age and manners, without ought of their owne but bare- 
conned words, is verily a provision for ones safety : and 
yet but a cowardly one; as is that of him, who would 
forgoe his honour, his profit or his pleasure for feare of 
danger ; for it is certaine that the practisers of such courses, 
cannot hope for any fruite able to moove or satisfie a 
worthy minde. 

One must very earnestly have desired that, whereof he 
would enjoy an absolute delight : I meane, though fortune 
should unjustly favour their intention : which often 
hapneth, because there is no woman, how deformed and 
unhandsome soever, but thinkes hir-selfe lovely, amiable 
and praiseworthy, either for hir age, hir haire or gate 
(for there are generally no more faire then foule ones). And 
the Brachmanian maides wanting other commendations ; 

46 Montaigne's Essayes 

by Proclamation for that purpose, made shew of their 
matrimoniall parts unto the people assembled, to see if 
thereby at least they mi<^ht get them husbands. By con- 
sequence there is not one of them, but upon the first oath 
one maketh to serve her, will very easily be perswaded to 
thinke well of her selfe. Now this common treason and 
ordinary protestations of men in these dayes, must needes 
produce the effects, experience already discovereth : which 
is, that either they joyne together^ and cast away them- 
selves on themselves, to avoid us, or on their side follow 
also the example wee give them ; acting their part of the 
play, without passion ; without care, and without love 
lending themselves to this entercourse : Neqtie affectui suo 
aut alieno ohnoxicE : Neither liable to their own nor other 
jolkes affection. Thinking, according to Lysias perswa- 
sions in Plato, they may so much the more profitably and 
commodiously yeeld unto us ; by how much lesse we love 
them : Wherein it will happen as in Comedies, the spec- 
tators shall have as much or more pleasure, as the 
Comedians. For my part, I no more acknowledge Venus 
without Cupid, then a mother-hood without an off-spring : 
They are things which enterlcnd and enter-owe one another 
their essence. Thus doth this cozening rebound on him 
that useth it ; and as it cost him little, so gets he not much 
by it. Those which made Veiius a goddesse, have 
respected that her principall beautie was incorporeall and 
spirituall. But shee whom these kinde of people hunt after, 
is not so much as humane, nor also brutall ; but such as 
wilde beasts, would not have her so filthy and terrestriall. 
We see that imagination enflames them, and desire or 
lust urgeth them, before the body : W^e see in one and 
other sex, even in whole heards, choise and distinctions in 
their affections, and amongst themselves acquaintances of 
long continued good-will and liking. And even those to 
whom age dcnieth bodily strength, doe yet bray, neigh, 
roare, skip and wince for love. Before the deed we see 
them full of hope and heat ; and when the body hath plaid 
his part, even tickle and tingle themselves with the sweete- 
nesse of that remembrance : some of them swell with pride 
at parting from it, others all weary and glutted, ring out 
songs of glee and triumph. Who makes no more of it but 
to discharge his body of some naturall necessitie. hath no 

The Third Booke Chap. Ill 47 

cause to trouble others with so curious preparation. It is 
no food for a greedy and clownish hunger. As one that 
would not be accounted better then I am, thus much I will 
display of my youths wanton-errors : Not onely for the 
danger of ones health that followes that game (yet could I 
not avoid two, though light and cursorie assaults) but also 
for contempt, I have not much beene given to mercenarie 
and common acquaintances. I have coveted to set an edge 
on that sensuall pleasure by difficultie, by desire, and for 
some glory. x\nd liked Tiberius his fashions, who in his 
amours was swaied as much by modesty and noblenesse, 
as by any other quality. And Floras humour, who would 
prostitute her selfe to none worse then Dictators, Consuls, 
or Censors, and tooke delight in the dignitie and greatnesse 
of her lovers, doth some-what sute with mine. Surely 
glittering pearles and silken cloathes adde some-thing unto 
it, and so doe titles, nobilitie and a worthie traine. Besides 
which, I made high esteeme of the minde, yet so as the 
body might not justly be found fault withall : For, to speake 
my conscience, if either of the two beauties were neces- 
sarily to be wanting, I would rather have chosen to want 
the mental!, whose use is to be emploied in better things. 
But in the subject of love ; a subject that chiefly hath refer- 
ence unto the two senses of seeing and touching, some 
thing may be done without the graces of the minde, but 
little or nothing without the corporall. Beautie is the true 
availefull advantage of women: It is so peculiarly theirs, 
that ours though it require some features and different 
allurements, is not in her right kue, or true bias, unlesse 
confused with theirs ; childish and beardlesse. It is 
reported, that such as serve the great Tiirke under the title 
of beautie (whereof the number is infinite) are dimissed at 
furthest when they once come to the age of two and twenty 
yeeres. Discourse, discretion, together with the offices of 
true amitie, are better found amongst men: and therefore 
governe they the worlds affaires. These two commerces or 
societies are accidentall, and depending of others ; the one 
is troublesome and tedious for it's raritie ; the other withers 
with old age : nor could they have sufhciently provided for 
my lives necessities. That of bookes, which is the third, is 
much more solid-sure and much more ours ; some other 
advantages it yeeldeth to the two former : but hath for her 

48 Montaigne's Essayes 

share constancie and the facilite of her service. This 
accosteth and secondeth all my course, and every where 
assisteth me : It comforts me in age, and solaceth me in 
solitarinesse : It easeth mee of the burthen of a weary-some 
sloth : and at all times rids me of tedious companies : it 
abateth the edge of fretting sorrow, on condition it be not 
extreme and over insolent. To divert me from any impor- 
tunate imagination or insinuating conceit, there is no 
better way then to have recourse unto hookes : with ease 
they allure mee to them, and with facility they remoove 
them all. And though they perceive I neither frequent nor 
seeke them, but wanting other more essentiall, lively, and 
more naturall commodities, they never mutinie or murmur 
at mee ; but still entertaine mee with one and selfe-same 
visage. He may well walke a foote, that leades his horse 
by the bridle, saith the proverbe. And our James king of 
Naples and Sicilie, who being faire, young, healthy and in 
good plight, caused himselfe to be caried abroad in a plaine 
wagon or skreene, lying upon an homely pillow of course 
feathers, cloathed in a sute of home spunne gray, and a 
bonet of the same, yet royally attended on by a gallant 
troupe of Nobles, of Litters, Coches, and of all sorts of 
choice led-horses, a number of gentlemen, and officers, 
represented a tender and wavering austerity. The sicke 
vian is not to be moaned, that hath his health in his sleeve. 
In the experience and use of this sentence, which is most 
true, consisteth all the commoditie I reape of bookes. In 
effect I make no other use of them, then those who know 
them not. I enjoy them, as a miser doth his gold ; to know, 
that I may enjoy them when I list ; my minde is setled and 
satisfied with the right of possession. I never travel with- 
out bookes, nor in peace nor in warre; yet doe I passe 
many dayes and moneths without using them. It shall be 
anon, say I or to morrow, or when I please ; in the meane 
while the time runnes away, and passeth without hurting 
me. For it is wonderfull, what repose I take, and how I 
continue in this consideration, that they are at my elbow 
to delight me when time shall serve ; and in acknowledging 
what assistance they give unto my life. This is the best 
munition I have found in this humane peregrination, and I 
extremely bewaile those men of understanding that want 
the same. I accept with better will all other kindes of 

The Third Booke Chap. Ill 49 

ammusements, how slight soever, forsomuch as this can- 
not faile me. At home I betake me somwhat the oftner to 
my Hbrary, whence all at once I command and survay all 
my houshold ; It is seated in the chiefe entrie of my house, 
thence I behold under me my garden, my base court, my 
yard, and looke even into most roomes of my house. There 
without order, without method, and by peece-meales I 
turne over and ransacke, now one booke and now another. 
Sometimes I muse and rave; and walking up and downe 
I endight and enregister these my humours, these my con- 
ceits. It is placed on the third storie of a tower. The 
lowermost is my Chapell ; the second a chamber with other 
lodgings, where I often lie, because I would be alone. 
Above it is a great ward-robe. It was in times past the 
most unprofitable place of all my house. There I [passe] 
the greatest part of my lives dayes, and weare out most 
houres of the day. I am never there a nights : Next unto 
it is a handsome neat cabinet, able and large enough to 
receive fire in winter, and very pleasantly windowen. And 
if I feared not care, more then cost ; (care which drives and 
diverts me from all businesse) I might easily joyne a con- 
venient gallerie of a hundred paces long, and twelve broad, 
on each side of it, and upon one floore ; having already, 
for some other purpose, found all the walles raised unto a 
convenient height. Each retired place requireth a walke. 
My thoughts are prone to sleepe, if I sit long. My minde 
goes not alone as if [legges] did moove it. Those that 
studie without bookes, are all in the same case. The forme 
of it is round, and hath no flat side, but what serveth for my 
table and chaire : In which bending or circling manner, at 
one looke it offreth me the full sight of all my books, set 
round about upon shelves or desks, five rancks one upon 
another. It hath three bay-windowes, of a farre-extend- 
ing, rich and unresisted prospect, and is in diameter six- 
teene paces void. In winter I am lesse continually there : 
for my house (as the name of it importeth) is pearched 
upon an over-pearing hillocke ; and hath no part more sub- 
ject to all wethers then this : which pleaseth me the more, 
both because the accesse unto it is somwhat troublesome 
and remote, and for the benefit of the exercise which is to 
be respected ; and that I may the better seclude my selfe 
from companie, and keepe incrochers from me : There is my 

50 Montaigne's Essayes 

seat, there is my throne. I endevour to make my rule 
therein absokite, and to sequester that only corner from the 
communitie of wife, of children and ot acquaintance. Else- 
where I have but a verball authoritie, of confused essence. 
Miserable, in my minde is he, who in his owne home, hath 
no where to be to himselfe ; where hee may particularly 
court, and at his pleasure hide or with-draw himself. 
Ambition paieth her followers well, to keepe them still in 
open view, as a statue in some conspicuous place. Magna 
servitus est magna fortuna (Sen. Cons, ad Pol. c. xxvi. p.) : 
A great fortune is a great bondage. They cannot bee 
private so much as at their privie. I have deemed nothing 
so rude in the austerity of the life, which our Churchmen 
affect, as that in some of their companies they institute a 
perpetuall societie of place, and a numerous assistance 
amongst them in any thing they doe. And decme it some- 
what more tolerable to be ever alone, then never able to be 
so. If any say to me. It is a kinde of vilifying the Muses, 
to use them onely for sport and recreation, he wots not as 
I doe, what worth, pleasure, sport and passe-time is of : 
I had well nigh termed all other ends rediculous. I live 
from hand to mouth, and with reverence be it spoken, I live 
but to my selfe : there end all my designes. Being young I 
studied for ostentation ; then a little to enable my selfe and 
become wiser; now for deliqfht and recreation, never for 
gaine. A vaine conceit and lavish humour I had after this 
kinde of stuff e ; not only to provide for my need, but some- 
what further to adorne and embellish my selfe withall : I 
have since partlie left it. Bookes have and containc divers 
pleasing qualities to those that can duly choose them. But 
no good ivithout paines ; no Roses without prickles. It is a 
pleasure not absolutely pure and neate, no more then all 
others; it hath his inconveniences attending on it and som- 
times waighty ones : The minde is therein exercised, but 
the body (the care whereof I have not yet forgotten) 
remaineth there-whilst without action, and is wasted, and 
ensorrowed. I know no excesse more hurtfull for me, nor 
more to be avoided by me, in this declining age. Loe here 
my three most favoured and particular employments. I 
speake not of those I owe of dutie to the world. 

The Third Booke Chap. IV 51 



I WAS once employed in comforting of a truely»afflicted 
Ladie : the greatest part of their discourses are artificiall 
and ceremonious. 

Uberibus setnper lachrimis, semperque paratis, 
In statione sua, atque expcctantibus illain. 
Quo jubeat manare modo. — Juven. Sat. vi. 273. 
With plenteous teares ; still readie in their stand, 
Expecting still their Mistresses commaund, 
How they must flow, when they must goe. 

Men do but ill in opposing themselves against this 
passion ; for opposition doth but incense and engage them 
more to sorrow and quietnesse : The disease is exasper- 
ated by the jealousie of debate. In matters of common dis- 
course, me see, that what I have spoken without heede or 
care, if one come to contest with me about it, I stifly main- 
taine and make good mine owne ; much more if it be a 
thing wherein I am interessed. Besides, in so dooing, you 
enter but rudely into your matter, whereas a Physitions 
first entertainment of his patient should be gracious, cheere- 
full and pleasing. An uglie and froward Physition wrought 
never any good effect. On the contrary then, we must at 
first assist and smoothe their laments, and witnesse some 
approbation and excuse thereof. By which meanes you get 
credit to go on, and by an easie and insensible inclination, 
you fall into more firme and serious discourses and fit for 
their amendment. But I, who desired chiefly to gull the 
assistants, that had their eyes cast on me, meant to salve 
their mischiefe : I verily finde by experience, that I have but 
an ill and unfruitful! vaine to perswade. I present my 
reasons either too sharpe, or too drie, or too stirringly or 
too carelesly. After I had for a while applyed my selfe to 
hir torment, I attempted not to cure it by strong and lively 
reasons : either because I want them, or because I suppose I 
might otherwise effect my purpose the better. Nor did I 
cull out the severall fashions of comfort prescribed by 
philosophy : That the thing lamented is not ill, as 
Cleanthes : or but a little ill, as the Peripatetikes : That 
to lament is neither just, nor commendable, as Chrysippus : 

52 Montaigne's Essayes 

Nor this Epicurus, most agreeing with my manner, to 
translate the conceit of yrkesome into delightsome things : 
Nor to make a loade of all this masse, dispensing the same, 
as one hath occasion, as Cicero. But faire and softly 
declining our discourses, and by degrees bending them 
unto subjects more neare ; then a little more remote, even 
as shee more or lesse enclined to mee. I unperceavably 
remooved those dolefull humours from hir : so that as long 
as I was with her, so long I kept her in cheerefull counte- 
nance; and untroubled fashion, wherein I used diversion. 
Those which in the same service succeded mee, found her 
no whit amended : the reason was, I had not yet driven 
my wedge to the roote. I have peradventure else where, 
glaunced at some kindes of publike diversions. And the 
militarie customes used by Pericles in the Peloponesian 
warre, and a thousand others else where, to divert or 
withdrawe the armie of an enemie from their owne country, 
is too frequent in histories. It was an ingenious diverting, 
where-with the Lord of Himbercourt saved both himselfe and 
others in the towne of Liege, into which the Duke of Bur- 
gondie, who beleagred the same, had caused him to enter, 
to performe the covenants of their accorded yeelding. The 
inhabitants thereof, to provide for it, assembled by night, 
and began to mutinie against their former agreement, deter- 
mining upon this advantage to set upon the Negotiators, 
now in their power. Hee perceiving their intent, and noise 
of this shoure readie to fall upon him, and the danger his 
lodging was in, forth-with rushed out upon them two 
cittizens (whereof he had divers with him) furnished with 
most plausible and new offers to be propounded to their 
counsell; but indeed forged at that instant to serve his 
turne withall, and to ammuse them. These two stayes the 
first approaching storme, and carryed this incensed Hydra- 
headed-monster multitude backe to the towne-house, to 
heare their charge, and accordingly to detemine of it. The 
conclusion was short; when loe a second tempest came 
rushing on, more furiously inraged then the former ; to 
whom he immediately dispatched foure new and semblable 
intercessors, with protestations that now they were in 
earnest to propose and declare new and farre more ample 
conditions unto them, wholly to their content and satisfac- 
tion; whereby this disordered rout was againe drawne to 

The Third Booke Chap. IV 53 

their Conclave and Senate-house. In summe, he by such a 
dispensation of amusements, diverting their headlong fury, 
and dissipating the same with vaine and frivolous consulta- 
tions, at length lulled them into so secure a sleep, that he 
gained the day, which was his chiefest drift and only aymed 
scope. This other storie is also of the same predicament. 
Atalanta a maid of rare surpassing beautie, and of a won- 
drous strange disposition to ridde herselfe from the impor- 
tunate pursuit of a thousand amorous sutors, who soUicited 
her for manage, prescribed this law unto them ; that shee 
would accept of him that should equall her in running : on 
condition those she shold overcome might lose their lives. 
Some there were found, who deemed this prize worthie 
the hazard, and who incurred the penaltie of so cruell a 
match. Hippotnenes comming to make his assay after the 
rest, devoutly addressed himselfe to the divine protectresse 
of all amorous delights, earnestly invoking her assistance : 
who gently listning to his hearty prayers, furnished him 
with three golden Apples, and taught him how to use them. 
The scope of the race being plaine, according as Hippo- 
menes perceived his swift-footed mistresse to approch his 
heeles, he let fall (as at unawares) one of his Apples : the 
heedlesse maiden gazing and wondring at the alluring 
beautie of it, failed not to turne and take it up. 

Obstupuit virgo, nitidique cupidine pomi, 

> Declitmt cursus, aurumque volubile tollit. 

'■■■ Ovid. Met. x. 666. 

The maid amaz'd, desiring that faire gold, 
Turnes by her course, takes it up as it rold. 

The like he did (at his need) with the second and third, 
untill by this digressing and diverting, the goale and 
advantage of the course was judged his. When Physitians 
cannot purge the rheume, they divert and remoove the same 
unto some lesse dangerous part. I also perceive it to be the 
most ordinary receit for the mindes diseases. Ahdncendus 
etiam nonnunquam animus est ad aliena studia^ sollicitu- 
dines, curas negotia: Loci denique mutatione, tanquam 
(2groti non convalescentes, scepe curandus est: Our minde 
also is sometimes to he diverted to other studies, cogita- 
tions, cares and businesses : and lastly to be cured by 
change of place, as sicke folkes use, that otherwise cannot 
get health. We make it seldome to shocke mischiefes with 

54 Montaigne's Essayes 

direct resistance : we make it neither to beare nor to break, 
but to shun or divert, the blow. This other lesson is too 
high, and over-hard. It is for him of the first ranke, 
meerely to stay upon the thing- it selfe, to examine and 
judge it. It belongth to one onely Socrates^ to accost and 
entertaine death with an undaunted ordinary visage, to 
become familiar and play with it. He seeketh for no com- 
fort out of the thing it selfe. To die seemeth unto him a 
naturall and indifferent accident : thereon he wishly fixeth 
his sight, and thereon he resolveth without looking else- 
where. Hegesias his disciples, who with hunger starv'd 
themselves to death, incensed thereunto with the perswad- 
ing discourses of his lessons ; and that so thicke as King 
Ptolomey forbad him any longer to entertain his schoole 
with such murtherous precepts. Those considered not 
death in it selfe, they judged it not : This was not the limit 
of their thoughts, they run on, and ayme at another being. 
Those poore creatures we see on scaffolds, fraught with an 
ardent devotion, therein to the uttermost of their power, 
employing al their sences ; their eares attentive to such In- 
structions as Preachers give them, their hands and eyes lift 
up towards heaven ; their voice uttering loud and earnest 
praiers ; all with an eager and continuall ruth-mooving 
motion ; doe verily what in such an unavoydable exigent is 
commendable and convenient. One may well commend 
their religion, but not properly their constancy. They 
shunne the brunt ; they divert their consideration from 
death; as we use to dandle and busie children, when we 
would lance them or let them bloud. I have seen some, 
who if by fortune they chanced to cast their eyes towards 
the dreadful preparations of death, which were round about 
them, fal into trances, and with fury cast their cogitations 
elsewhere. Wee teach those that are to passe over some 
steepy downe fall or dreadfull abisse, to shut or turne 
aside their eies. Suhrius Flavins, being by the appoint- 
ment of Nero to be put to death by the hands of Niger, 
both chiefe commanders in war : when he was brought unto 
the place where the execution should be performed, seeing 
the pit Niger had caused to be digged for him uneven and 
unhandsomely made : Nor is this pit (quoth he to the 
souidiers that stood about him) according to the true dis- 
cipline of ivar : And to Niger, who willed him to hold his 

The Third Booke Chap. IV 55 

head steddy, / wish thou wouldest stricke as steddily. He 
guessed right ; for Nigers arme trembling, he had divers 
blowes at him before he could strike it off. This man 
seemeth to have fixed his thoughts surely and directly on 
the matter. He that dies in the fury of a battle, with 
weapons in hand thinkes not then on death, and neither 
feeleth, nor considereth the same : the heate of the fight 
transports him. An honest man of my acquaintance, falling 
downe in a single combate, and feeling himselfe stab'd 
nine or ten times by his enemy, was called unto by the by 
standers to call on God and remember his conscience : but 
he told me after, that albeit those voices came unto his 
eares, they had no whit mooved him, and that he thought 
on nothing, but how to discharge and revenge himselfe. 
In which combat he vanquished and slew his adversary. 

He who brought L. Syllanus his condemnation, did much 
for him : in that when he heard him answer he was pre- 
pared to die, but not by the hands of base villaines, ran 
upon him with his souldiers to force him ; against whom 
obstinately defending himself though unarmed with fists 
and feet : he was slaine in the conflict: dispercing with a 
ready and rebellious choller the paincfull sence of a long 
and fore-prepared death : to which he was assigned. We 
ever thinke on somewhat else : either the hope of a better 
life doth settle and support us, or the confidence of our 
childrens worth, or the future glory of our name, or the 
avoyding of these lives mischieves, or the revenge hang- 
ing over their heads that have caused and procured our 
death : 

Spero equidem mediis, si quid pia numina possunt, 

Supplicia hatisurum scopulis, et nornine Dido 

Scepe vocaturum. \^irg. /En. iv. 382. 

Audiam, et hcec manes venict mihi fama sub imos. — 387. 

I hope, if powers of heaven have any power. 

On rockes he shall be punisht, at that houre, 

He oft on Didoes name shall pittilesse exclalme, 

This shall I heare, and this report, shall to me in my grave resort. 

Xenophon sacrificed with a crowne on his head, when one 
came to tell him the death of his sonne Gryllus in the battell 
of Mantinea. At the first hearing whereof he cast his 
crowne to the ground, but finding upon better relation how 
valiantly he died, he tooke it up and put it on his head 
againe. Epicurus also at his death comforted himselfe in 

56 Montaigne's Essayes 

the eternitie and worth of his writings. Omnes clari et 
nobilitati labores fiunt tolerahiles (Cic. Tusc. ii.). All 
glorious and honourable labours are made tolerable. And 
the same wound, and the same toile (saith Xenophon) 
toucheth not a Generall of an armie, as it doth a private 
souldier. Epayninondas tooke his death much the more 
cheerefully, being- informed that the victorie remained on 
his side. Hcec sunt solatia, hcec fomenta sutnmormn 
dolorum (Ibid.) : These are the comforts y these the eases 
of most grievous paines. And such other like circum- 
stances ammuse, divert and remoove us from the con- 
sideration of the thing in it selfe. Even the arguments of 
Philosophic, at each clappe wrest and turne the matter 
aside, and scarcely wipe away the scabbe thereof. The 
first man of the first Philosophicall Schoole and Super- 
intendent of the rest, that great Zeno, against death, cried 
out; No evill is honourable ; death is : therefore is death no 
evill. Against drunkennesse ; No man entrusts his secrets 
to a drunkard; every one to the wise: therefore the ivise 
7vill not be drunke. Is this to hit the white? I love to see, 
that these principall wits cannot rid themselves of our com- 
pany. As perfect and absolute as they would be, they still 
are but grosse and simple men. Revenge is a sweet-pleas- 
ing passion, of a great and natural! impression: I perceive 
it well, albeit I have made no triall of it. To divert of late 
a young prince from it, I told him not, he was to offer the 
one side of his cheeke, to him, who had strooke him on the 
other, in regard of charity ; nor displaid I unto him the 
tragicall events Poesie bestoweth upon that passion. There 
I left him, and strove to make him taste the beautie of a 
contrary Image : the honour, the favour and the good-will 
he should acquire by gentlenesse and goodnesse : I diverted 
him to ambition. Behold how they deale in such cases. If 
your affection in love be over-power full, disperse or dissi- 
pate the same^ say they ; and they say true, for I have 
often, with profit made triall of it : Breake it by the vertue 
of severall desires, of which one may be Regent or chiefe 
Master, if you please ; but for feare It should misuse and 
tyrannize you, weaken it with dividing, and protract it 
with diverting the same. 

Ctim morosa vago singtiUiet inguine vena, 
Conjicito humorem coUectum in corpora qticpqiic. 

Pers. Sat. vi. 73. LucR. iv. 1056. 

The Third Booke Chap. IV 57 

When raging lust excites a panting tumor, 
To divers parts send that collected humor. 

And looke to it in time, lest it vex you, if it have once 
seized on you. 

Si non prima novis conturhes vulnera piagis, 
Volgivagdque vagus Venere ante recentia cures. 

LucR. iv. 1061. 

Unlesse the first wounds with new wounds you mix, 
And ranging cure the fresh with common tricks. 

I was once neerely touched with a heavy displeasure, 
according to my complexion ; and yet more just then 
heavie : I had peradventure lost my selfe in it, had I only 
relied upon mine owne strength. Needing a vehemerit 
diversion to with-draw me from it ; I did by Arte and studie 
make my selfe a Lover, whereto my age assisted me ; love 
discharged and diverted me from the inconvenience, which 
good-wil and amitie had caused in me. So is it in all things 
else. A sharpe conceit possesseth, and a violent imagina- 
tion holdeth me : I finde it a shorter course to alter and 
divert, then to tame and vanquish the same : if I cannot 
substitute a contrary unto it, at least I present another 
unto it. Change ever easeth, Varietie dissolveth, and shift- 
ing dissipateth. If I cannot buckle with it, I flie from it : 
and in shunning it, I stray and double from it. Shifting of 
place, exercise and company, I save my selfe amid the 
throng of other studies and ammusements, where it loseth 
my tracke, and so I slip away. Nature proceedeth thus, by 
the benefit of inconstancy : For, the time it hath bestowed 
on us, as a soveraigne physition of our passions, chiefly 
obtaines his purpose that way, when fraughting our con- 
ceits with other and different affaires, it dissolveth and 
corrupteth that first apprehension, how forcible soever it 
be. A wise man seeth little lesse his friend dying at the 
end of five and twenty yeeres, then at the beginning of the 
first yeere; and according to Epicurus, nothing lesse: for 
he ascribed no qualification of perplexities, either to the 
foresight or antiquitie of them. But so many other cogita- 
tions, crosse this, that it languisheth, and in the end 
groweth weary. To divert the inclination of vulgar 
reports, Alcihiades cut off his faire dogs eares and taile, 
and so drove him into the market place; that giving this 
subject of prattle to the people, they might not meddle 

III 442 c 

58 Montaigne's Essayes 

with his other actions. I have also seen some women, who 
to divert the opinions and conjectures of the babhngf 
people, and to divert the fond tatling of some, did by 
counterfet and dissembled affections, overshadow and 
cloak true affections. Amongst which I have noted some, 
who in dissembling and counterfeiting have suffered them- 
selves to be intrapped wittingly and in good earnest ; quit- 
ting their true and originall humour for the fained : of 
whom I learne, that such as finde themselves well seated, 
are very fooles to yeelde unto that maske. The common 
greetings, and publike entertainements being reserved 
unto that set or appointed servant, beleeve there is little 
sufficiency in him, if in the end he usurpe not your roome 
and send you unto his. This is properly to cut out and 
stitch up a shoe, for another to put on. A little thing doth 
divert and turne us ; for a small thing holds us. We do not 
much respect subjects in grosse and alone : they are cir- 
cumstances, or small and superficial! images that moove 
and touch us ; and vaine rindes which rebound from 

Folliculos ut nunc teretes cestate cicadce 

Linquunt. — LucR. v. 812. 

As grasse-hoppers in summer now forsake 

The round-grown sheafes, which they in time should take. 

Plutarke himselfe bewailes his daughter by the fopperies 
of his childehood. The remembrance of a farewell, of an 
action, of a particular grace, or of a last commendation, 
afliict us. Ccesars gowne disquieted all Rome, which his 
death had not done; The very sound of names, which! 
gingleth in our eares, as, Oh my poore master; or, Alas my 
dearc friend; Oh my good father; or, Alas my sweete 
daughter. When such Hke repetitions pinch me, and that, 
I looke more nearely to them, I finde them but gram-i 
maticall laments, the word and the tune wound me. Even 
as Preachers exclamations do often move their auditory 
more, then their reasons : and as the pittifull grcane of a 
beast yerneth us though it be killed for our use : without 
poising or entring there-whilest, into the true and massie 
essence of my subject. 

His se stimulis dolor ipse lacessit. — LucAN. ii. 42. 

Griefe by these provocations, 
Puts it selfe in more passions. 

The Third Booke Chap. IV 59 

They are the foundations of our mourning. The conceipt 
of the stone, namely in the yard, hath sometime for three 
or foure dayes together, so stopped my urine, and brought 
me so neare deaths-doore that it had beene meere folly in 
me, to hope, nay to desire, to avoyd the same, considering 
what cruell pangs that painefull plight did seaze me with. 
Oh how cunning a master in the murthcring arte, or hang- 
mans trade, was that good Emperour, who caused male- 
factors yards to bee fast-tide, that so hee might make them 
dye for want of pissing. In which ill plight finding my 
selfe, I considered by how slight causes and frivolous 
objects, imagination nourished in me the griefe to lose my 
life : with what Atomes the consequence and difficulty of 
my dislodging was contrived in my minde : to what idle 
conceits and frivolous cogitations we give place in so 
waighty a case or important affaire. A Dogge, a Horse, a 
Hare, a Glasse, and what not? were [coumpted] in my losse. 
To others, their ambitious hopes, their purse, their learn- 
ing : In my minde as sottishly. I view death carelessely 
when I bchould it universally at the end of life. I over- 
whelme and contemne it thus in great, by retayle it spoiles 
and proules me. The teares of a Lacquey, the distributing 
of my cast sutes, the touch of a knowne hand, an ordinary 
consolation : doth disconsolate and intender me. So do the 
plaints and fables of trouble vex our mindes : and the wail- 
ing laments of Dydo, and Ariadne passionate even those, 
that beleeve them not in Virgill, nor in Catullus : It is an 
argument of an obstinate nature, and indurate hart, not to 
be moved therewith : as for a wonder, they report of 
Polemon: who was not so much as appaled, at the biting 
of a Dog, who tooke away the braun or calfe of his leg. 
And no wisedome goeth so far, as by the due judgement to 
conceive aright the evident cause of a Sorrow and griefe, 
so lively and wholly, that it suffer or admit no accession by 

esence, when eies and eares have their share therein : 
parts that cannot be agitated but by vaine accidents. Is it 
reason, that even arts should serve their purposes, and 
make their profit of our imbecillity and naturall blockish- 
nes? An Orator (saith Rhetorick) in the play of his plead- 
ing, shall be moved at the sound of his owne voice, and by 
his fained agitations : and suffer himselfe to be cozoned by 
the passion he representeth : imprinting a lively and essen- 

6o Montaigne's Essayes 

tiall sorrow, by the jugling he acteth, to transferre it Intc 
the judges, whom of the two it concerneth lesse : As tht 
persons hired at our funerals who to aide the ceremony o 
mourning, make sale of their teares by measure, and o; 
their sorrow by waight. For although they strive to act i' 
in a borrowed forme, yet by habituating and ordering theii 
countenance, it is certaine they are often wholly trans- 
ported into it, and entertaine the impression of a true anc 
unfained melancholly. I assisted amongst divers others ol 
his friends, to convay the dead corpes of the Lord of Gram- 
tnont from the siege of Laferre, where he was untimel) 
slaine, to Soissons. I noted that every where as we passec 
a long, we filled with lamentation and teares all the people 
we met, by the onely shew of our convoies mourning attire 
for the deceased mans name was not so much as known, oi 
heard of about those quarters. Ouintilian reporteth, tc 
have scene Comedians so farre ingaged in a sorrowful 
part, that they wept after being come to their lodgings : 
and of himself e, that having undertaken to move a certaine 
passion in another : he had found himselfe surprised not 
only with shedding of teares, but with a palenesse oi 
countenance, and behaviour of a man truly dejected witli 
griefe. In a country neare our Mountaines, the women say 
and unsay, weepe and laugh with one breath : as Martiti 
the Priest ; for, as for their lost husbands they encreast 
their waymentings by repetition of the good and graceful 
parts they were endowed with, there withall under one the\ 
make publike relation of those imperfections; to work, a.^ 
it were some recompence unto themselves, and trans- 
change their pitty unto disdaine ; with a much better grace 
then we, who when we loose a late acquaintance, strive to 
loade him with new and forged prayses, and to make him 
farre other, now that we are deprived of his sight, then hec 
seemed to be when we enjoied and beheld him. As if 
mourning were an instructing party; or teares cleared our 
understanding by washing the same. I renounce from this 
time forward all the favourable testimonies any man shall 
affoord me, not because I shall deserve them, but because I 
shall be dead. If one demand that fellow, what interest he 
hath in such a siege ; The interest of example {%vill he say) 
and common obedience of the Prince; I nor looke, nor 
pretend any benefit thereby ; and of glory I know how small 

The Third Booke Chap. IV 6i 

fa portion commeth to the share of a private man, such as 

,|,I am. I have neither passion nor quarrell in the matter; 

fyet the next day shall you see him all changed, and chafing, 

boiling and blushing with rage, in his ranke of battaile, 

ready for the assault. It is the glaring reflecting of so 

much Steele, the flashing thundering of the Canon, the 

j clang of trumpets, and the ratling of Drummes, that have 

[infused this new fury, and rankor in his swelling vaines. 

jA frivolous cause, will you say. How a cause? There 

^jneedeth none to excite our minde. A doating humour with- 

jjout body, without substance overswayeth and tosseth it up 

.jand downe. Let me thinke of building Castles in Spayne^ 

imy imagination will forge me commodities and afford me 

jmeanes and delights wherewith my minde is really tickled 

and essentially gladded. How often do we pester our 

spirits with anger or sadnesse by such shadowes, and 

entangle our selves into fantasticall passions which alter 

both our mind and body? what astonished, flearing and 

confused mumpes and mowes doth this dotage stirre up 

in our visages? what skippings and agitations of members 

and voice, seemes it not by this man alone, that he hath 

false visions of a multitude of other men with whom he 

doth negotiate ; or some inwarde Goblin that torments 

him? Enquire of your selfe, where is the object of this 

alteration? Is there any thing but us in nature, except 

subsisting nullity? over whom it hath any power? Because 

Cambyses dreamed that his brother should be King of 

Persia^ he put him to death : a brother whom he loved, and 

ever trusted. Aristodemus King of the Messenians killed 

himselfe, upon a conceite he tooke of some ill presage, by, 

I know not what howling of his Dogs. And King Midas 

did asmuch, being troubled and vexed by a certaine 

unpleasing dreame of his owne. It is the right way to 

prize ones life at the right worth of it, to forgo it for a 

dreame. [Heare] notwithstanding our mindes triumph over 

the bodies weakenesses and misery : in that it is the prey 

and marke of all wrongs and alterations, to feede on and 

aime at. It hath surely much reason to speake of it. 

O prima infcelix fingcnti terra Promethco : 

Ille parum cauti pectoris egit opus. 

Corpora disponens, mentem non vidit in arte: 

Recta animi primutn dehuit esse via. — Prop, i'i'i. El. iv. 7. 

62 Montaigne's Essayes 

Unhappy earth first by Prometheus formed, 
Who of small providence a worke performed : 
He framing bodies saw in arte no minde ; 
The mindes way first should rightly be assign 'd. 



Profitable thoughts, the more full and solide they are, 
the more combersome and heavy are they ; vice, death, 
poverty and diseases, are subjects that vvaig-h and grieve. 
We must have our minde instructed with meanes to sus- 
taine and combate mischief es, and furnished with rules 
how to live well and believe right : and often rouze and 
exercise it in this goodly study. But to a minde of the 
common stampe ; it must be with intermission and modera- 
tion ; it groweth weake, by being continually over- 
wrested : When I was young, I had neede to be advertised, 
and sollicited to keepe my selfe in office : Mirth and health 
(sales one) sute not so well with these serious and grave 
discourses. I am now in another state. The conditions of 
age do but over-much admonish, instruct, and preach unto 
me. From the excesse of jollity, I am falne into the 
extreame of severity : more peevish and more untoward. 
Therefore, I do now of purpose somewhat give way unto 
licentious allurements ; and now and then employ my minde 
In wanton and youthfull conceits, wherein she recreates) 
hir selfe. I am now but to much setled ; too heavy and too 
ripe. My yeares read me daily a lesson of coldnesse and 
temperance. My body shunneth disorder, and feares it :. 
it hath his turne to direct the minde toward reformation ; 
his turne also to rule and sway ; and that more rudely and 
imperiously. Be I awake or a sleepe, it doth not permit 
me one houre but to ruminate on instruction, on death, on 
patience, and on repentance. As I have heretofore defended 
my selfe from pleasure, so I now ward my selfe from 
temperance : it haleth me too far back, and even to 
stupidity. I will now every way be master of my selfe. 
Wisdome hath hir excesses, and no lesse need of modera- 
tion, then follie. So that least I should wither, [tarnish] 

The Third Booke Chap. V 63 

and over cloy my selfe with prudence, in the intermissions 
my evils affoord mee; 

Mens intcnia suis ne sict : usque iiialis. 

Ovid. Trist. iv. EL i. 4. 

Still let not the conceit attend, 
The ils that it too much offend. 

I gently turne aside, and steale mine eyes from viev^ing 
that tempestuous and cloudy skie, I have before me ; which 
(thankes be to God) I consider without feare, but not with- 
out contention and study. And ammuse my selfe with the 
remembrance of passed youth-tricks : 

— animus quod perdidit, optat, 
Atqiie in prcclerita se totus imagine versat. 

Petron. Arb. Sat. 

The minde, what it hath lost, doth wish and cast, 
And turne and wind in Images forepast. 

That infancy looketh forward, and age backward ; v/as 
it not that which Janus his double visage signified? yeares 
entraine me if they please : but backward. As far as mine 
eyes can discerne that faire expired season, by fits I turne 
them thitherward. If it escape my bloud and veines, yet 
will I not roote the image of it out of my memory : 

— hoc est, 
Vivere his, vita posse priore frui. 

Mart. x. Epig. xxiii. 7. 

This is the way for any to live twise, 
Who can of former life enjoy the price. 

Plato appoints old men to be present at youthfull exer- 
cises, dances and games, to make them rejoice at the bodies 
agility and comlinesse of others, which is now no longer 
in them ; and call to their remembrance, the grace and 
favour of that blooming age : and willeth them to give 
the honour of the victory to that young-man, who hath 
gladded and made most of them mery. I was heretofore 
wont to note sullen and gloomy dales, as extraordinary : 
now are they my ordinary ones : the extraordinary are my 
faire and cleere dayes. I am ready to leape for joy, as 
at the receaving of some unexspected favour, when nothing 
grieveth me. Let me tickle my selfe, I can now hardly 
wrest a bare smile from this wretched body of mine. I 
am not pleased but in conceite and dreaming, by sleight to 

64 Montaigne's Essayes 

turne aside the way-ward cares of age : but sure there is 
need of other remedies, then dreaming. A weal^e conten- 
tion of arte against nature. It is meere simplicity, as most 
men do, to prolong and anticipate humane incommodities. 
/ had rather be lesse ivhile olde, then old before my time. 
I take hold even of the least occasions of delight I can 
meet withall. I know now by heare-say divers kindes of 
wise, powerfull and glorious pleasures : but opinion is not 
of sufficient force over me, to make me long for them. I 
would not have them so stately, lofty and disdainfull : as 
pleasant, gentle and ready. A natura discedimus ; populo 
nos damns y nullius rei bono auctori (Sen. Ep. xcix.) ; We 
forsake nature, Wee follow the people author of no good. 
My Philosophy is in action, in naturall and present, little in 
conceit. What if I should be pleased to play at cob-nut, or 
whip a top? 

Non ponebat enim rumores ante salutem. — Ennius. 

He did not prize what might be said, 
Before how all might safe be laid. 

Voluptuousnesse is a quality little ambitious ; it holds it 
selfe rich enough of it selfe without any accesse of reputa- 
tion ; and is best affected where it is most obscured. That 
young man should deserve the whip, who would spend his 
time in choosing out the neatest Wine and best sauces. 
There is nothing I ever knew or esteemed lesse : I now 
beginne to learne it. I am much ashamed of it, but what 
can I do withall? and am more ashamed and vexed, at the 
occasions that compell me to it. It is for us to dally, doate 
and trifle out the time ; and for youth to stand upon nice 
reputation, and hold by the better end of the staffe. That 
creepeth towards the world and marcheth toward credite ; 
we come from it. Sibi arma, sibi equos, sibi hastas, sibi 
clavam, sibi pilamy sibi [natationes] et cursus habeant: 
nobis senibus, ex lusionibus multis, talos relinquant, et 
tesseras (Cic. De Sene.); Let them keepe their armor, their 
horses, their lances, their polaxes, their tennis, their swim^ 
ming, and their running; and of their many games, let 
them put over to us old men the tables and the cardes. 
The very lawes send us home to our lodgings. I can do 
no lesse in favour of this wretched condition, whereto my 
age forceth mee, then furnish it with somewhat to dandle 

The Third Booke Chap. V 65 

and ammuse it selfe, as it were childehood ; for when all is 
done we fall into it againe. And both wisedome and folly 
shall have much a do, by enterchange of offices to support 
and succour me in this calamity of ag-e. 

Misce stultitiam consiliis hrevem. 

HoR. iv. Od. xii. 27. 

With short-like-foolish tricks, 
Thy gravest counsels mixe. 

Withal I shun the lightest pricklings ; and those which 
heretofore could not have scratcht me, do now transpearce 
me. So wilingly my habite doth now begin to apply it 
selfe to evil : in fragili corpore odiosa omnis offensio est 
(Cic. De Sene.) : all offence is yrkesome to a erased body. 

Mensque pati durum sustinet cegra nihil. 

Ovid. Font. i. El. vi. 18. 

A sicke minde can endure, 
No hard thing for hir cure. 

I have ever beene ticklish and nice in matters of offence, 
at this present I am more tender, and every where open. 

Et mininiie vires frangere quassa valent. 

Ovid. Trist. iii. EL xi. 22. 

Least strength can brcake, 
Things worne and weake. 

Well may my judgement hinder me from spurning and 
repining at the inconveniences which nature allots me to 
indure ; from feeling them it cannot. I could finde in my 
heart to runne from one ende of the world to another, to 
searche and purchase one yeare of pleasing and absolute 
tranquillity ; I who have no other scope, then to live and 
be mery. Drouzie and stupide tranquillity is sufficiently 
to be found for me, but it makes me drouzy and dizzie ; 
therefore I am not pleased with it. If there be any body, 
or any good company in the cuntry, in the citty, in France^ 
or any where els, resident [or] travelling, that likes of my 
conceites, or whose humours are pleasing to me, they 
neede but hold up their hand, or whistle in their fiste, and 
I will store them with Essayes, of pithe and substance, 
with might and maine. Seeing it is the mindes priviledge 
to renew and recover it selfe on old age, I earnestly advise 
it to do it : let it bud, blossome, and flourish if it can, as 
Misle-toe on a dead tree. I feare it is a traitor; so 

66 Montaigne's Essayes 

straightly is she clasped, and so hard doth she clingf to my 
body, that every hand-while she forsakes me ; to follow hir 
in hir necessities. I flatter hir in private, I urge hir to no 
purpose ; in vaine I offer to divert hir from this combina- 
tion, and bootlesse it is for me to present hir Seneca or 
Catullus y or Ladies, or stately dances ; if hir companion 
have the chollicke, it seemes she also hath it. The very 
powers or faculties that are particular and proper to hir, 
cannot then rouze themselves : they evidently seeme to be 
en-rheumed : there is no blithnes in hir productions, if 
there be none in the body. Our schollers are to blame, 
who serching- the causes of our mindes extraordinary fits 
and motions, besides they ascribe some to a divine fury, 
to love, to warre-like fiercenesse, to Poesie, and to Wine ; 
if they have not also allotted health her share. A health 
youthfull, lusty, vigorous, full, idle, such as heretofore 
the Aprill of my yeares and security afforded me by fittes. 
That fire of jocondnesse stirreth up lively and bright 
sparkles in our mind, beyond our naturall brightnesse and 
amongst the most working if not the most desperate 
Enthusiusmes or inspirations. Well, it is no wonder if a 
contrary estate clogge and naile my spirit, and drawe from 
it a contrary effect. 

Ad nullum consiirgit opus, cum corpore langtiet. 

Cor. Gal. El. I. 125. 
It to no worke doth rise, 
When body fainting lyes. 

And yet would have me beholden to him, for lending 
(as he sayth) much lesse to this consent, then beareth the 
ordinary custome of men. Let us at least whilst we have 
[truce] chase all evils, and expell all difficulties from our 

Dum licet obducta solvatur fronte senectus : 

HoR. Epod. xiii. 7. 

With wrinckled wimpled forhead let old yeares, 
While we may, be resolv'd to merrie cheere. 

Tetrica sunt amoenanda jocularibus, Unpleasant things^ 
and sowre matters should he sweetned and made pleasant 
with sportejull mixtures. I love a lightsome and civillj 
discretion, and loathe a roughnes and austerity of bo- 
haviour : suspecting every peevish and way ward counten- 

The Third Booke Chap. V 67 

Tristemque vultus tetrici arrogantiam. 

Mart. vii. Epig. Ivii. 9. 
Of austere countenance, 
The sad soure arrogance. 

Et hahet tristis qiioque iurha cynados. 

Fidlers are often had, 
Mongst people that are sad. 

I easily beleeve Plato, who saieth, that easie or hard 
humors, are a great prejudice unto the mindes goodiiesse 
or badnesse. Socrates had a constant countenance, but 
light-some and smyling- : not frowardly constant, as old 
Crassus, who was never scene to laugh. Vertue is a 
pleasant and buxom quality. Few, I know will snarle at the 
liberty of my writings, that have not more cause to snarle 
at their thoughts-loosenes. I conforme my selfe unto 
their courage, but I offend their eies. It is a well ordered 
humour to wrest Platos writings, and straine his pretended 
negotiations with Phedon, Dion, Stella, Archeatiassa. 
Non piideat dicere, quod non pudeat sentire. Let us not 
bee ashamed to speake, ivhat ive shame not to thinke. I 
hate a way ward and sad disposition, that glideth over the 
pleasures of his life, and fastens and feedes on miseries. 
As flyes that cannot cleave to smooth and sleeke bodies, 
but seaze and holde on rugged and uneven places. Or as 
Cupping glasses, that affect and suck none but the worst 
bloud. For my part I am resolved to dare speake what- 
soever I dare do : And am displeased with thoughts not 
to be published. The worst of my actions or condicions 
seeme not so ugly unto me, as I finde it both ugly and 
base not to dare to avouch them. Every one is wary in 
the confession; we should be as heedy in the action. The 
bouldnes of offending is somewhat recompensed and re- 
strained by the bouldnes of confessing. He that should 
be bound to tell all, should also bind himselfe to do nothing 
which one is forced to conceale. God graunt this excesse 
of my licence draw men to freedom, beiond these cowardly 
and squeamish vertues, sprung from our imperfections ; 
and that by the expence of my immoderation, I may reduce 
them unto reason. One must survay his fatdtes and study 
them, ere he he able to repeat them. Those which hide 
them from others, commonly conceale them also from 
themselves ; and esteme them not sufficiently hidden, if 

68 Montaigne's Essayes 

themselves see them. They withdraw and disguise them 
from their owne consciences. Quare vicia confitetur? 
Quia etiarti nunc in illis est^ soniniiwi narrate vigihmtis 
est (Sen. Ep. 53 m.). Why doth no man confesse his 
faults? Because hee is yet in them; and to declare his 
dreame, is for him that is waking. The bodies evils are 
discerned by their increase. And now we finde that to be 
the gout which we termed the rheume or a bruse. The 
evils of the mind are darkened by their own force ; the 
most infected feeleth them least. Therefore is it, that 
they must often a day be handled, and violently be opened 
and rent from out the hollow of our bosome. As in the 
case of good ; so of bad offices, only confession is some- 
times a satisfaction. Is there any deformity in the error, 
which dispenseth us to confesse the same? It is a paine 
for me to dissemble : so that I refuse to take charge of 
other mens secrets, as wanting hart to disavow my know- 
ledge. I [can] conceale it ; but deny it I cannot, without 
much a do and some trouble. To he perfectly secret^ one 
must be so hy nature; not by obligation. It is a small 
matter to be secret in the Princes service, if one be not 
also a liar. He that demanded Thales MilesiuSy whether 
he should solemnly deny his lechery ; had he come to me, 
I would have answered him, he ought not do it : for a ly 
is in mine opinion, worse then lechery. Thales advised 
him otherwise, bidding him sweare, thereby to warrant the 
more by the lesse. Yet was not his counsell so much the 
election, as multiplication of vice. Whereupon we some- 
times use this by-word, that we deale wel with a man of 
conscience, when in counterpoise of vice we propose some 
difficulty unto him? but when he is inclosed betweene two 
vices, he is put to a hard choise. As Origen was dealt 
with al, either to commit idolatry, or suffer himselfe to 
be Sodomatically abused by a filthy Egiptian slave, that 
was presented unto him ; he yeilded to the first condition, 
and viciously, saith one. Therefore should not those 
women be distasted, according to their error, who of late 
protest, that they had rather charge their conscience with 
ten men, then one Masse : If it be indiscretion so to divulge 
ones errors, ther is no danger though it come into ex- 
ample and use. For Ariston said, [that] The winds men 
feare mosty are those which discover them. Wee must 

The Third Booke Chap. V 69 

tuck up this homely rag that cloaketh our manners. They 
send their conscience to the stews, and keepe their counten- 
ance in order. Even traitors and murtherers observe the 
Jaws of complements, and thereto fixe their endevors. So 
that neither can injustice complaine of incivility, nor malice 
of indiscretion. Tis pitty a bad man is not also a foole, 
and that decency should cloak his vice. These parget- 
tings belong only to good and sound wals, such as deserve 
to be whited, to be preserved. In favour of HugonotSy 
who accuse our auricular and private confession, I confesse 
my selfe in publike; religiously and purely. Saint Augus- 
tine, Origine, and Hippocrates, have published [the] errors 
of their opinions; I likewise of my maners. I greedily 
long to make my selfe knowne; nor care I at what rate, 
so it be truly : or to say better, I hunger for nothing ; but 
I hate mortally to be mistaken by such as shall happen to 
know my name. He that doth all for honor and glory, 
what thinks he to gaine by presenting himselfe to the 
world in a maske, hiding his true being from the peoples 
knowledge? Commend a crook-back for his comely 
stature, he ought to take it as an injury : if you be a coward, 
and one honoreth you for a valiant man, is it of you he 
speaketh? you are taken for another: I should like as 
well, to have him glory in the courtesies and lowtings 
that are shewed him, supposing himselfe to be ring-leader 
of a troupe when he is the meanest folower of it. Arche- 
laus King of Macedon, passing through a street som body 
cast water upon him, was advised by his followers to 
punish the party : yea but (quoth he) who ever it was, he 
cast not the water upon me, but upon him he thought I 
was. Socrates to one that told him he was railed upon 
and ill spoken of ; Tush (said he) there is no such thing in 
me. For my part, should one commend me to be an ex- 
cellent Pilote, to be very modest, or most chaste, I should 
owe him no thanks. Likewise should any man call me 
traitour, theefe or drunkard, I would deeme my selfe but 
little wronged by him. Those who misknow themselves, 
may feed themselves with false approbations; but not I, 
who see and search my selfe into my very bowels, and 
know full well what belongs unto me. I am pleased to 
be lesse commended, provided I be better knowne. I 
may be esteemed wise for such conditions of wisedome, 

70 Montaigne's Essayes 

that I account meere follies. It vexeth me, that my 
Essayes serve Ladies in liew of common ware and stuffe 
for their hall : this Chap, wil preferre me to their cabinet : 
I love their society somewhat private; their publike 
familiarity wants favor and savor. In farewels we heate 
above ordinary our affections to the things we forgo. I 
here take my last leave of this worlds pleasures : loe here 
our last embraces. And now to our theame. Why was 
the acte of generation made so naturall, so necessary and 
so just, seeing we feare to speake of it without shame, 
and exclude it from our serious and regular discourses? 
we prononce boldly, to rob, to murther, to betray ; and 
this we dare not but betweene our teeth. Are we to 
gather by it, that the lesse we breath out in words the 
more we are allowed to furnish our thoughts with? For 
words least used, least writen and least concealed should 
best be understood, and most generally knowne. No age, 
no condition are more ignorant of it, then of their bread. 
They are imprinted in each one, without expressing, with- 
out voice or figure. And the sexe that doth it most, is 
most bound to suppresse it. It is an action we have put 
in the precincts of silence, whence we draw it were an 
offence : not to accuse or judge it. Nor dare we [beate] 
it but in circumlocution and picture. A notable favour, 
to a criminal offender, to be so execrable, that justice 
deem it injustice to touch and behold him, freed and saved 
by the benefit of this condemnations severity. Is it not 
herein as in matters of books, which being once called-in 
and forbidden become more saleable and publik? As for 
me, I will take Aristotle at his word that hashfullnesse is 
an ornament to youth, hut a reproach to age. These 
verses are preached in the old schoole ; a schoole of which 
I hold more then of the moderne : her vertues seeme 
greater unto me, her vices lesse. 

[Ce«x] qui par trop fuiant Venus cstrivent 
Faillent autant que ceux qui trop la suivent. 

Who strive ore much Venus to shunne, ofTends 
Alike with him, that wholy hir intends. 

Tu dea, tu reriim naturam sola gubcrnus, 
Nee sine te quicquani dias in luminis oras 
Exoritur, tieque fit Icctuin, nee amabile quicquam. 

LUCR. i. 22. 

The Third Booke Chap. V 71 

Goddesse, thou rul'st the nature of all things. 
Without thee nothing into this light springs. 
Nothing is lovely, nothing pleasures brings. 

I know not who could set Pallas and the Muses at oddes 
with Venus, and make them cold and slow in affecting 
of love ; as for me, I se no Deities that better sute to- 
gether, nor more endebted one to another. Who-ever shal 
go about to remove amourous imaginations from the 
Muses, shall deprive them of the best entertainement they 
have, and of the noblest subject of their work : and who 
shall debarre Cupid the service and conversation of Poesie, 
shall weaken him of his best weapons. By this meanes 
they caste upon the God of acquaintance, of amitie and 
goodwill; and upon the Goddesses, protectresses of 
humanity, and justice, the vice of ingratitude, and im- 
putation of churlishnesse. I have not so long l>eene 
cashiered from the state and service of this God, but that 
my memory is still acquainted with the force of his worth 
and valour. 

— agnosco vetcris vestigia flammcv. — ViRG. jfEn. iv. 23. 

I feele and feeling know, How my old flames re-grow. 
There commonly remaine some reliques of shivering and 
heate after an ague. 

Nee mihi deficiat color hie, hyemantibus annis. 

When Winter ycares com-on, 
Let not this heate be gon. 

As drie, as sluggish and as unwieldy as I am, I feele yet 
some warme cinders of my passed heate. 

OuaV I'alto ^gco perche Aquiloneo Koto 
Cessi che tuto prima il volse e scossc, 
Non s'accheta ei pero, ma il suono c'l tnoto, 
Ritien deli onde anco agitate e grosse. 

As graund Mgean Sea, because the voice 
Of windcs doth cease, which it before enraged, 
Yet doth not calme, but stil retaines the noise 
And motion of huge billowes unasswaged. 

But for SO much as I know of it, the power and mio-ht 
of this God, are found more quick and lively in the 
shadowe of the Poesie, then in their owne essence. 

Et versus digitos hahet. — Juven. Sat. vi. 197. 

Verses have full effect, Of fingers to erect. 

72 Montaigne's Essayes 

It representeth a kinde of aire more lovely then love it 
selfe. Venus is not so faire, nor so alluring all naked, 
quick and panting-, as she is here in VirgiJl. 

Dixerat, et niveis hinc atqiie hitic diva lacertis 
Cimctantem amplexu molli fovct : lUe repcnte 
Accepit solitatn flammam, notusque medullas 
Intravit calor, et labe facta per ossa ciicurrit. 
Non secus atque olim tonitru cum rupta cortisco 
Ignea rima micans percurrit Uimine nitnbos. 

ViRG, /En. viii. 387. 
So said the Goddesse, and with soft embrace, 
Of Snow-white arme, the grim-fire doth enchase, 
He straight tooke wonted fire, knowne heate at once. 
His marrow pearc't, ranne through his weakned bones; 
As fierie flash with thunder doth divide, 
With radiant lightning through a storme doth glide. 

— ea verba loquutus, 
Optatos dedit amplexus, placidiimque petivil. 
Conjugis infusus gremio per membra soporcm. — Ibid. 404. 

A sweet embrace, when he those words had said 
He gave, and his lims pleasing-rest he praid 
To take in his wives bosome lolling laid. 

What therein I finde to be considered, is, that he de- 
painteth her somewhat stirring for a maritall Venus. In 
this discreete match, appetites are not commonly so fond- 
ling ; but drowsie and more sluggish. Love disdaineth a 
man should hold of other then himselfe^ and dealeth but 
faintly with acquaintances begun and entertained under 
another title; as mariage is. Alliances, respects and 
meanes, by all reason, waigh as much or more, as the 
grace and beauty. A man doth not marry for himselfe, 
whatsoever he aleageth ; but as much or more for his 
posteritie and familie. The use and interest of mariage 
concerneth our off-spring, a great way beyond us. There- 
fore doth this fashion please me, to guide it rather by a 
third hand, and by anothers sence, then our owne : All 
which, how much doth it dissent from amorous conven- 
tions? Nor is it other then a kinde of incest, in this 
reverent alliance and sacred bond, to employ the efforts 
and extravagant humor of an amorous licentiousnes, as I 
thinke to have said else-were. One should (saith Aristotle) 
touch his wife soberly, discreetly and severely, least that 
tickling too lasciviously pleasure transport her beyond the 
bounds of reason. What he speaketh for conscience, 

The Third Booke Chap. V 73 

Phlsitions alledge for health : saying that pleasure exces- 
sively whotte, voluptuous and continuall, altereth the 
seede, and hindereth conception. Some other say, besides 
that to a languishing congression (as naturally that is) to 
store it with a convenient, and fertile heat, one must but 
seldome, and by moderate intermissions present himselfe 
unto it. 

Quo rapiet sitiens venerem interjusque recondant. 

ViRG. Georg. iii. 137. 

Thirsting to snatch a fit, 

And inly harbour it. 

/ see no manages faile sooner, or more troubled, then 
such as are concluded for beauties sake, and hudled up 
for amorous desires. There are required more solide 
foundations, and more constant grounds, and a more warie 
marching to it : this earnest youthly heate serveth to no 
purpose. Those who thinke to honour marriage, by 
joyning love unto it, (in mine opinion) doe as those, who 
to doe vertue a favour, holde, that nobilitie is no other 
thing then Vertue. Indeed these things have affinitie ; 
but therewithal! gre^t difference : their names and titles 
should not thus be commixt : both are wronged so to be 
confounded. Nobilitie is a worthy, goodly quality, and 
introduced with good reason, but in as much as it de- 
pendeth on others, and may fall to the share of my vicious 
and worthies se fellowe, it is in estimation farre shorte of 
vertue. If it be a vertue, it is artificiall and visible ; 
relying both on time and fortune ; divers in forme, accord- 
ing unto countries : living and mortall : without birth, as 
the river Nilus, genealogicall and common : by succession 
and similitude : drawne along by consequence, but a very 
weake one. Knowledge, strength, goodnesse, beauty, 
wealth and all other qualities fall within compasse of com- 
merce and communication : whereas this consumeth it selfe 
in it selfe, of no emploiment for the service of others. 
One proposed to one of our Kings the choise of two com- 
petitors in one office, the one a Gentleman, the other a 
Yeoman : hee appointed that without respect unto that 
quality, he who deserved best shold be elected : but were 
their valour or worth fully a-like, the Gentleman should 
be regarded, this was justlie to give nobilitie her right 
and ranke. Antigonus, to an unknowne young-man, who 

74 Montaigne's Essayes 

sued unto him for his fathers charge, a man of valour and 
who was lately deceased : My friend (quoth hee) in such 
good turnes, / waigh not my souldiers nohle births so 
much as their sufficiencie. Of truth it should not be here- 
in, as with the officers of Spartan kings ; Trumpetors, 
Musitions, Cookes, in whose roome their children suc- 
ceeded, how ignorant soever, before the best experienced 
in the trade. Those of Calicut make of their nobility a 
degree above humane. Marriage is interdicted them, and 
all other vocations saving warre. Of Concubines they may 
have as many as they list, and women as many lechardes, 
without Jealousie one of another. But it is a capital 
crime, and unremissible offence to contract or marry with 
any of different condition : Nay they deeme themselves 
disparaged and polluted, if they have but touched them 
in passing by. And as if their honour were much injured 
and interressed by it they kil those who approach some- 
what too neare them. In such sort, that the ignoble are 
bound to cry as they walke along, like the Gondoliers or 
Water men of Venice along the streetes, least they should 
justle with them : and the nobles command them to what 
side of the way they please. Thereby do these avoyde 
an obloquie which they esteeme perpetual; and those an 
assured death. No continuance of time, no favour of 
Prince, no office, no vertue, nor any wealth can make a 
cloiim to become a gentleman. Which is much furthered 
by this custome, that marriages of one trade with another 
are strictly forbidden. A Shoo-maker cannot marry with 
the race of a Carpenter ; and parents are precisely bound 
to traine up orphanes in their fathers trade, and in no 
other. Whereby the difference, the distinction and con- 
tinuance, of their fortune is maintained. A good marriage 
(if any there be) refuseth the company and conditions of 
love ; it endevoureth to present those of amity. It is a 
sweete society of life, full of constancy, of trust, and an 
infinite number of profitable and solid offices, and miutuall 
obligations : No woman that throughly and impartially 
tasteth the same, 

(Optaio quani junxit lumine tceda. 

Catul. Com. Ber. 79. 

Whom loves-fire joyned in double band, 
With wished light of marriage brand) 

The Third Booke Chap. V 75 

would foregoe her estate to be her husbands master. Be 
she lodged in his affection, as a wife, she is much more 
honourably and surely lodged. Be a man passionately 
entangled in any unlawfull lust or love, let [him then be 
demanded] on whom he would rather have some shame 
or disgrace to alight ; eyther on his lawfull wife, or on his 
lechard mistris whose misfortune would afflict him most, 
and to whom he wisheth greater good or more honour. 
These questions admit no doubt in an absolute sound 
[marriage]. The reason we see so fezv good, is an appar- 
ant signe of it's worth, and a testimony of it's price. 
Perfectly to fashion and rightly to take it, is the worthiest 
and best part of our societie. We cannot be without it : 
and yet we disgrace and vilifie the same. It may be com- 
pared to a cage, the birds without dispaire to get in, and 
those within dispaire to get out. Socrates being de- 
manded, whether was most commodeous, to take, or not, 
to take a wife ; Which soever a man doth (quoth he) he 
shall repent it. It is a match wherto may well be applied 
the comm.on saying, homo homini atit Deus, aut Lupus 
(Eras. Chil. i. cent. i. 69, 70). Ma7v unto man is either 
a God or a Wolfe, to the perfect erecting whereof are the 
concurrences of divers qualities required : It is now a 
dayes found most fit or commodious for simple mindes and 
popular spirits whom dainties, curiosity and idlenes do not 
so much trouble. Licentious humours, debaushed con- 
ceits (as are mine) who hate all manner of duties, bondes, 
or observances are not so fit, so proper, and so sutable 
for it. 

Et mihi dulce magis resoltito vivere collo. 

Cor. Gal. El. i. 61. 

Sweeter it is to me, with loose necke to live free. 

Of mine owne disposition, would wisedome it selfe have 
had me, I should have refused to wed her. But we may 
say our pleasure ; the custome and use of common life 
overbeareth us. Most of my actions are guided by ex- 
ample, and not by election : Yet did I not properly envite 
my selfe unto it, I was led and brought thereunto by 
strange and unexpected occasions : For, 7iot onely inconi' 
modious things, hut foule, vicious and inevitable, may by 
some condition and accident become acceptable and allowed. 

76 Montaigne's Essayes 

So vaine is mans posture and defence. And truely I was 
then drawne unto it, being" but ill prepared and more 
backeward, then now I am that have made triall of it. And 
as licencious as the world reputes me, I have (in good 
truth) more stricktly observed the lawes of wedlock, then 
either I had promised or hoped. It is no longer time to 
wince when one hath put on the shackles, A man oug^ht 
wisely to husband his liberty : but after he hath once sub- 
mitted himselfe unto bondage, he is to stick unto it by 
the lawes of common duty or at least enforce himselfe to 
keepe them. Those which undertake that covenant to 
deale therein with hate and contempt, do both injustly 
and incommodiously. And that goodly rule I see passe 
from hand to hand among women, as a sacred Oracle, 

Sers ton mary coniine [ton] maistre: 
Et t'en garde conime d'un traistre. 

Your husband as your master serve yee : 
From him as from false friend preserve yee. 

which is as much to say; Beare thy selfe toward him with 
a constrained, enemy and distrustfull reverence (a stile of 
warre, and cry of defiance) is likewise injurious and diffi- 
cult. I am to milde for such crabbed dissignes : To say 
truth, I am not yet come to that perfection of sufficiency 
and quaintnesse of wit, as to confound reason with in- 
justice : and laugh or scoffe at each order or rule, that 
jumps not with my humour. To hate superstition, I do 
not presently cast my selfe into irreligion. If one do not 
alwaies discharge his duty, yet ought he at least ever love, 
ever acknowledge it : It is treason for one to marry unless e 
he wed. But go we on. Our Poet describeth a marriage 
full of accord and good agreement, wherein notwithstand- 
ing there is not much loyalty. Did he meane it was not 
possible to performe loves rights, and yet reserve some 
rights toward marriage ; and that one may bruse It, with- 
out altogether breaking It? A servant may picke his 
masters purse, and yet not hate him. Beauty, opportunity, 
destiny, (for destiny hath also a hand therin) 

— fatum est in partibus illis. 
Quas sinus ahscondit ; nam si tihi sidera cassent, 
Nil faciet longi mensura incognita nervi. 

JuvEN. Sat. ix. 32. 

The Third Booke Chap. V 77 

In those parts there is fate, which hidden are ; 
If then thou be not wrought-for by thy starre, 
The measure of long nerves, unknowne to nothing serves. 

have entangled a woman to a stranger, yet peradventure 
not so absolutely, but that some bond may be left to hold 
her to her husband. They are two dissignes, having 
severall and unconfounded pathes leading to them. A 
woman may yeeld to such a man, whom in no case she 
would have married. I meane not for the conditions of 
his fortune, but for the qualities of his person. Few men 
have wedded their sweet hearts, their paramours or mis- 
tresses, but have come home by weeping Crosse, and ere 
long repented their bargaine. And even in the other world, 
what an unquiet life leades Jupiter with his wife, whom 
before hee had secretly knowen, and lovingly enjoyed? 
This is as they say, to beray the panier, and then put it on 
your head. My selfe have scene in some good place, love, 
shamefully and dishonestly cured by manage : the consider- 
ations are too much different. We love without disturb- 
ance to our selves; two divers and in themselves contrary 
things. Isocrates said, that the towne of Athens pleased 
men, even as Ladies doe whom wee serve for affection. 
Every one loved to come thither, to walke and passe away 
the time : but none affected to wed it : that is to say, to 
endenison, to dwell and habituate himselfe therein. I have 
(and that to my spight and griefe) scene husbands hate 
their wives, onely because themselves wronged them : 
Howsoever, wee should not love them lesse for our faults ; 
at least for repentance and compassion they ought to be 
dearer unto us. These are different ends (saith he) and 
yet in some sort compatible. Wedlocke hath for his shares 
honour, justice, profit and constancie : a plaine, but more 
generall delight. Love melts in onely pleasure; and truly 
it hath it more ticklish ; more lively, more quaint, and more 
sharpe : a pleasure inflamed by difficulty : there must be a 
kinde of stinging, tingling and smarting. It is no longer 
love, be it once without Arrowes^ or without fire. The 
liberality of Ladies is to profuse in marriage, and blunts 
the edge of affection and desire. To avoide this incon- 
venience, see the punishment inflicted by the lawes of 
Lycurgus and Plato. But Women are not altogether in 
the wrong, when they refuse the rules of life prescribed to 

yS Montaigne's Essayes 

the World, forsomuch as onely men have established them 
without their consent. There is commonly brauling and 
contention between them and us. And the nearest con- 
sent we have with them, is but stormy and tumultuous. 
In the opinion of our Authour, we heerin use them but 
inconsiderately. After we have knowen, that without com- 
parison they are much more capable and violent in Loves- 
effects then we, as was testified by that ancient Priest, who 
had beene both man and woman, and tried the passions 
of both sexes. 

Venus huic erat utraque nota: 

Ovid. Meta. iii. 323. Tiros. 
Of both sortes he knew venery. 

We have moreover learned by their owne mouth, what 
tryall was made of it, though in divers ages, by an Em- 
perour and an Empresse of Rome, both skilful and famous 
masters in lawlesse lust and unruly wantonnesse ; for he 
in one night deflowred ten Sarmatian virgines, that were 
his captives ; but shee really did one night also, answere 
five and twenty severall assaults, changing her assailants 
as she found cause to supply her neede, or fitte her taste, 

— adhuc ardens rigidcB tentigine vulvcc 
Et lassata viris, nondum satiata recessit. 

JuvEN. Sat. vi. 127. 

And that upon the controversie happened in Catalogne, 
betweene a wife and a husband ; shee complaining on his 
over violence and continuance therein (not so much in my 
conceit, because she was thereby overlabored (for but by 
faith I beleeve not miracles) as under this pretext, to 
abridge and bridle the authority of husbands over their 
wives, which is the fundamental part of marriage : And to 
shew that their frowning, sullennesse and peevishnesse 
exceede the very nuptiall bed, and trample under-foote the 
very beauties, graces and delights of Venus : to whose 
complaint her husband, a right churlish and rude fellow 
answered, that even on fasting dayes he must needes do 
it ten times at least) was by the Queene of Aragon given 
this notable sentence : by which after mature deliberation 
of counsel, the good Queen to establish a rule and imitable 
example unto all posterity, for the moderation and re* 
quired modesty in a lawfull marriage, ordained the number 

The Third Booke Chap. V 79 

of sixe times a day, as a lawfull, necessary and competent 
limit. Releasing" and diminishing- a great part of her 
sexes neede and desire : to establish (quoth she) an easie 
forme, and consequently permanent and immutable. Here- 
upon doctors cry out; what is the appetite and lust of 
women, when as their reason, their reformation and their 
vertue, is retailed at such a rate? considering the divers 
judgement of our desires : for Solon master of the lawiers 
schoole alloweth but three times a month because this 
matrimoniall entercourse should not decay or faile. Now 
after we beleeved (say I) and preached thus much, we 
have for their particular portion allotted them continency ; 
as their last and extreame penalty. There is no passion 
more importunate then this, which we would have them 
only to resist : Not simply, as a vice in it self, but as 
abhomination and execration, and more then irreligion 
and parricide, whilst we our selves without blame or re- 
proach offend in it at our pleasure. Even those amongst 
us, who have earnestly labored to overcome lust, have 
sufficiently [vowed] what difficulty, or rather unresistable 
impossibilitie they found in it, using neverthelesse material! 
remedies, to tame, to weaken and coole the body. And 
we on the other side would have them sound, healthy, 
strong, in good liking, wel-fed and chaste together, that 
is to say, both hot and colde. For marriage which we 
averre should hinder them from burning, affords them but 
smal refreshing, according as our manners are. If they 
meet with a husband, whose force by reason of his age is 
yet boyling, he will take a pride to spend it else-where. 

Sit tandem fudor, aut eamus in jus, 
MtiJtis mentula millibus redempta, 
Non est haec ttia, Basse, vendidisti. 

Mart. xii. Epig. xcix. lo. 

The Philosopher Polemon was justly called in question 
by his wife, for sowing in a barren fielde the fruit due to 
the fertile. But if they match with broken stuffe in ful 
wedlocke, they are in worse case, then either virgins or 
widowes. Wee deeme them sufficiently furnished, if they 
have a man lie by them. As the Romans reputed Clodia 
Leta a vestall virgine defloured, whom Caligula had 
touched, although it was manifestly prooved he had but 
approached her : But on the contrary, their need or longing 

8o Montaigne's Essayes 

is thereby encreased ; for but the touch or company of any 
man whatsoever stirreth up their heate, which in their 
solytude was husht and quiet, and lay as cinders raked 
up in ashes. And to the end, as it is likely, to make by 
this circumstance and consideration their chastitie more 
meritorious : Boleslaus and Kinge his wife, King and 
Queene of Poland, lying together, the first day of their 
mariage vowed it with mutuall consent, and in despight 
of all vvedlocke commoditie of nuptiall delightes, main- 
tained the same. Even from their infancy wee frame them 
to the sports of love : their instruction, behaviour, attire, 
grace, learning and all their words aimeth onely at love, 
respects onely affection. Their nurces and their keepers 
imprint no other thing in them, then the lovelinesse of 
love, were it but by continually presenting the same unto 
them, to distaste them of it : My daughter (al the children 
I have) is of the age wherein the lawes excuse the forward- 
est to marry. She is of a slowe, nice and milde com- 
plexion, and hath accordingly beene brought up by hir 
mother, in a retired and particular manner : so that shee 
beginneth but now to put-off childish simplicitie. She 
was one day reading a French booke before me, an obscene 
word came in her way (more bawdie in sound then in 
effect, it signifieth the name of a Tree and another thing) 
the woman that lookes to hir, staid her presently, and 
somwhat churlishly making her step over the same : I let 
hir alone, because I would not crosse their rules, for I 
medle nothing with this government : womens policie hath 
a mysticall proceeding, we must be content to leave it to 
them. But if I be not deceived, the conversation of twenty 
lacqueis could not in six moneths have setled in her 
thoughts, the understanding, the use and consequences of 
the sound belonging to those filthy sillables, as did that 
good olde woman by her checke and interdiction. 

Motus doceri gaudet lonicos. 

Matura virgo, et fingitur artubus 

Jam nunc, et inccstos amores 

De tenero meditatur ungui. — HoR. Car. iii. Od. vi. 21. 

Maides mariage-ripe straight to be taught delight 

lonique daunces, fram'de by arte aright 

In every joynt, and ev'n from their first haire 

Incestuous loves in meditation beare. 

Let them somwhat dispence with ceremonies, let them 

The Third Booke Chap. V 8i 

fal Into free libertle of speach ; we are but children, we are 
but guiles, in respect of them, about any such subject. 
Heare them relate how we sue, how we wooe, how we 
sollicitie, and how we entertaine them, they will soone 
give you to understand, that we can say, that we can doe, 
and that we can bring them nothing, but what they already 
knew, and had long before digested without us. May it 
be (as Plato saith) because they have one time or other 
beene themselves wanton, licentious and amorous lads? 
Mine eares hapned one day in a place, where without sus- 
picion they might listen and steale some of their private, 
lavish and bould discourses ; O why is it not lawful for 
me to repeate them? Birlady (quoth I to my selfe) It is 
high time indeed for us to go studie the phrases of Atnadis^ 
the metaphors of Aretine, and eloquence of Boccace, there- 
by to become more skilfull, more ready and more sufficient 
to confront them : surely we bestow our time wel ; there 
is nor quaint phrase, nor choise word, nor ambiguous 
figure, nor patheticall example, nor love-expressing 
gesture, nor alluring posture, but they know them all 
better then our bookes : It is a cunning bred in their vaines 
and will never out of the flesh, 

Et mentem Venus ipsa dedit, — ViRG. Georg. iii. 267. 

Venus her selfe assign 'de 

To them both meanes and minde, 

which these skill infusing Schoole-mistresses nature, 
youth, health and opportunitie, are ever buzzing in their 
eares, ever whispering in their minds : They need not learn, 
nor take paines about it ; they beget it, with them it is 

Nee tantum niveo gavisa est nulla cohimbo 

Contpar, vel si quid dicitur improhius, 

Oscula mordenti semper decerpere rostro: 

Quantum prcecipue multivola est tnulier. 

Catul. Eleg. iv. 125. 

No pigeons hen, or paire, or what v/orse name 
You list, makes with hir Snow-white cock such game. 
With biting bill to catch when she is kist, 
As many-minded women when they list. 

Had not this naturall violence of their desires beene som- 
what held in awe, by feare and honor, wherewith they 
have beene provided, we had all beene defamed. All the 

82 Montaigne's Essayes 

worlds motions bend and yeeld to this conjunction, it is a 
matter everywhere infused ; and a Centre whereto all lines 
come, all thin<;s looke. The ordinances of ancient and 
wise Rome, ordained for the service, and instituted for 
the behoof e of love, are yet to be scene : together with the 
precepts of Socrates to instruct courtizans. 

Nee non lihclli Stoici inter sericos 

Jacere puJvillos amant. — Hor. Epod. viii. 15. 

Ev'n Stoicks books are pleas 'd 
Amidst silke cushions to be eas'd. 

Zeno among other laws, ordered also the struglings, the 
opening- of legges, and the actions, which happen in the 
deflowring of a virgin. Of what sense was the book of 
Strato the Philosopher, of carnal! copulation? And where- 
of treated Theophrastus in those he entitled, one The 
Lover, the other, Of Love? Whereof Aristippus in his 
volume Of ancient deliciousnesse or sports? What im- 
plied or what imported the ample and lively descriptions 
in Plato, of the loves practised in his dayes? And the 
lover of Demetrius Phalereus? And Clinias, or the forced 
lover of Heraclides Ponticus ? And that of Antisthenes^ 
of the getting of children, or of weddings? And the other, 
Of the Master, or of the lover? And that of Aristo, Of 
amorous exercises? Of Cleanthes, one of love, another of 
the Art of love? The amorous dialogues of Spherus? 
And the filthy intolerable, and without blushing not to be 
uttered fable of Jupiter and Juno, written by Chrysippus ? 
And his so lascivious fifty Epistles? I will omit the writ- 
ings of some Philosophers, who have followed the sect of 
Epicurus, protectresse of all maner of sensuality and car- 
nail pleasure. Fifty severall Deities were in times past 
allotted to this office. And there hath beene a nation found, 
which to allay and coole the lustfull concupiscence of such 
as came for devotion, kept wenches of purpose in their 
temples to be used ; and it was a point of religion to deale 
with them before one went to prayers. Nimirum propter 
continentiam incontinentia nccessaria est, incendium igni- 
hus extinguitur. Belike we must be incontinefit that jive 
may he continent, hurnifig is quenched by fire. In most 
places of the world, that part of our body was deified. In 
that same province, some flead it to offer, and consecrated 

The Third Booke Chap. V 83 

a peece thereof ; others offred and consecrated their seed. 
In another the young- men did publikely pierce, and in 
divers places open their yard between flesh and skin, and 
thorow the holes put the longest and biggest stickes they 
could endure, and of those stickes made afterward a fire, 
for an offring to their Gods, and were esteemed of small 
vigour and lesse chastity, if by the force of that cruell 
paine they shewed any dismay. Elsewhere, the most 
sacred magistrate was reverenced and acknowledged by 
those parts. And in divers ceremonies the portraiture 
thereof was carried and shewed in pompe and state, to the 
honour of sundry Deities. The Egyptian Dames in their 
Bacchanalian feasts wore a wodden one about their necks, 
exquisitly fashioned, a,s huge and heavy as every one could 
conveniently beare : besides that which the statue of their 
God represented, which in measure exceeded the rest of 
his body. The maried women here-by, with their Cover^ 
chefs frame the figure of one upon their forheads ; to glory 
themselves with the enjoying- they have of it ; and com- 
ming" to be widowes, they place it behind, and hide it under 
their quoifes. The g-reatest and wisest matrons of Rome^ 
were honoured for offringf flowers and garlands to God 
Priapus. And when their Virgins were maried, they 
(during the nuptials) were made to sit upon their privities. 
Nor am I sure, whether in my time, I have not scene a 
giimps of like devotion. What meant that laughter-m.ov- 
ing, and maids looke-drawing peece our Fathers wore in 
their breeches, yet extant among the Switzefs? To what 
end is at this present day the shew of our formall peeces 
under our Gascoine hoses? and often (which is worse) above 
their naturall greatnesse, by falshood and imposture? A 
little thing would make me believe, that the said kinde of 
garment was invented in the best and most upright ages, 
that the world might not be deceived, and all men should 
yeeld a publike account of their sufficiency. The simplest 
nations have it yet somewhat resembling the true forme. 
Then was the workemans skill Instructed, how it is to 
be made, by the measure of the arme or foot. That good- 
meaning man, who in my youth, thorowout his great city, 
caused so many faire, curious and ancient statues to be 
guelded, lest the sense of seeing might be corrupted, fol- 
lowing the advice of that other good ancient man, 

84 Montaigne's Essayes 

Flagitii principium est nudare inter cives corpora: 

Cic. Tusc. iv. En. 
Mongst civill people sinne, 
By baring bodies we beginne, 

should have considered, how in the mysteries of the good 
Goddesse, all apparance of man was excluded ; that he was 
no whit neerer, if he did not also procure both horses and 
asses, and at length nature her selfe to be guelded. 

Omne adeo genus in tcrris, hominumque ferarumque, 

Et genus aquoreum, pecudes, pictccque volucres, 

In furias ignenique ruunt. — Virg. Georg. iii, 244. 

All kindes of things on earth, wilde beast, mankinde, 
Field-beasts, faire-fethered fowle, and fish (we finde) 
Into loves fire and fury run by kinde. 

The Gods (saith Plato) have furnished man with a dis- 
obedient, skittish, and tyrannicall member; which like an 
untamed furious-beast, attempteth by the violence of his 
appetite to bring all things under his becke. So have they 
allotted women another as insulting, wilde and fierce ; in 
nature like a greedy, devouring, and rebellious creature, 
who if when he craveth it, hee bee refused nourishment, 
as impatient of delay, it enrageth ; and infusing that rage 
into their bodies, stoppeth their conduicts, hindreth their 
respiration, and causeth a thousand kindes of inconveni- 
ences ; untill sucking up the fruit of the generall thirst, 
it have largely bedewed and enseeded the bottome of their 
matrix. Now my law-giver should also have considered, 
that peradventure it were a more chaste and commodiously 
fruitfuU use, betimes to give them a knowledge and taste 
of the quicke ; then according to the liberty and heat of 
their fantasie, suffer them to ghesse and imagine the same. 
In lieu of true essentiall parts, they by desire surmise, 
and by hope substitute others, three times as extravagant. 
And one of my acquaintance was spoiled, by making open 
shew of his in place, where yet it was not convenient to 
put them in possession of their more serious use. What 
harme cause not those huge draughts or pictures, which 
wanton youth with chalke or coales draw in each pas- 
sage, wall, or staires of our great houses? whence a cruel! 
contempt of our naturall store is bred in them. Who 
knoweth, whether Plato ordaining amongst other well- 
instituted Common-wealths, that men and women, old and 

The Third Booke Chap. V 85 

yoong', should in their exercises or GymnastickeSy present 
themselves naked one to the sight of another, aimed at that 
or no? The Indian women, who daily without interdic- 
tion view their men all over, have at least wherewith to 
asswag-e and coole the sense of their seeing. And what- 
soever the women of that great kingdome of Pegu say, 
who from their waste downward, have nothing to cover 
themselves but a single cloth slit before ; and that so 
straight, that what nice modestie, or ceremonious decencie 
soever they seeme to affect, one may plainly at each step 
see what God hath sent them : that it is an invention or 
shift devised to draw men unto them, and with-draw them 
from other men or boies, to which unnaturall brutish sinne 
that nation is wholly addicted : it might be said, they lose 
more then they get : and that a full hunger is more vehe- 
ment, then one which hath beene glutted, be it but by the 
eyes. And Livia said, that to an honest woman, a naked 
man is no more then an Image. The Lacedemonian 
women, more virgin-wives, then are our maidens, saw 
every day the young men of their citie, naked at their exer- 
cises : themselves nothing precise to hide their thighes 
in walking, esteeming themselves (saith Plato) sufficiently 
cloathed with their vertue, without vardingall. But those, 
of whom S. Augustine speaketh, have attributed much to 
nakednesse, who made a question, whether women at the 
last day of judgement should rise againe in their proper 
sex, and not rather in ours, lest even then they tempt us 
in that holy state. In summe, we lure and every way tiesh 
them : we uncessantly enflame and encite their imagina- 
tion : and then we cry out, but oh, but oh the belly. Let 
us confesse the truth, there are few amongst us, that feare 
not more the shame they may have by their wives offences, 
then by their owne vices ; or that cares not more (oh 
wondrous charity) for his wives, then his own conscience ; 
or that had not rather be a theefe and church-robber, and 
have his wife a murderer and an heretike, then not more 
chaste then himselfe. Oh impious estimation of vices. 
Both wee and they are capable of a thousand more hurtfull 
and unnaturall corruptions, then is lust or lasciviousnesse. 
But we frame vices and waigh sinnes, not according to 
their nature, but according to our interest ; whereby they 
take so many different unequall formes. The severity of 

86 Montaigne's Essayes 

our lawes makes women s inclination to that vice, more 
violent and faulty, then it's condition beareth ; and 
engageth it to worse proceedings then is their cause. They 
will readily offer rather to follow the practise of law, and 
plead at the barre for a fee, or go to the warres for reputa- 
tion, then in the midst of idlenesse and deliciousnesse be 
tied to keepe so hard a Sentinell, so dangerous a watch. 
See they not plainly, how there is neither Merchant, 
Lawyer, Souldier, or Church-man, but will leave his 
accounts, forsake his client, quit his glory, and neglect his 
function, to follow this other businesse? And the burden- 
bearing porter, souterly cobbler, and toilefull labourer, all 
harassed, all besmeared, and all bemoiled, through travel, 
labour and [trudging], will forget all, to please himselfe 
with this pleasing sport. 

Num tu quce tenuit dives Achccmenes, 

Aut pinguis Phrygice Mygdonias opes, 

Pcrmiitare veJis crine Licinice, 
Plenas aut Arabuni domos, 

Dum fragrantia detorquct ad oscula 

Ccrvicem, aut facili sccvitia negat, 

Quce poscente inagis gaudcat eiipi, 

Interdum rapere cccupet? — Hor. Car. ii. Od. xii. 21. 

Would you exchange for your faire mistresse haire, 

All that the rich AclK^mcnes did hold, 

Or all that fcrtill Phrygias soile doth beare, 

Or all th' Arabians store of spice and gold? 

Whilst she to fragrant kisses turnes her head, 

Or with a courteous coinesse them denies ; 

Which more then he that speeds she would have sped, 

And which sometimes to snatch she formost hies? 

I wot not whether CcEsars exploits, or Alexanders 
atchivements exceed in hardinesse the resolution of a beau- 
tious young woman, trained after our manner, in the open 
view and uncontrolled conversation of the world, sollicited 
and battered by so many contrary examples, exposed to 
a thousand assaults and continuall pursuits, and yet still 
holding her selfe good and unvanquished. There is no 
point of doing more thorny, nor more active, then this of 
not doing. I finde it easier, to heare all ones life a coniher- 
sonie armour on his hacke, then a maiden-head. And the 
voTV of virginity, is the noblest of all vowes, because the 
hardest. Diaboli virtus in lumhis est (Hieron.) : The 
divels master-point lies in our loines, saith S. Jerome. 
Surely we have resigned the most diflticult and vigorous 

The Third Booke Chap. V 87 

devoire of mankinde unto women, and quit them the glory 
of it, which might stead them as a singular motive to 
opinionate themselves therein : and serve them as a worthy 
subject to brave us, and trample under feet that vaine 
preheminence of valour and vertue we pretend over them. 
They shall finde (if they but heed it) that they shall thereby 
not only be highly regarded, but also more beloved. A 
gallant undaunted spirit leaveth not his pursuits for a 
bare refusall ; so it bee a refusall of chastitie, and not of 
choise. Wee may sv/eare, threaten and wailingly com- 
plaine ; we lie, for we love them the better. There is no 
enticing lure to wisdome and secret modestie ; so it be not 
rude, churlish, and froward. It is blockishnesse and base- 
nesse to be obstinately willful! against hatred and con- 
tempt : But against a vertuous and constant resolution, 
matched with an acknowledging minde, it is the exer- 
cise of a noble and generous minde. They may accept 
of our service unto a certaine measure, and make us 
honestly perceive how they disdaine us not : for the law 
which enjoineth them to abhorre us, because we adore 
them ; and hate us, forsomuch as we love them : is doubt- 
lesse very cruell, were it but for it's difficultie. Why 
may they not listen to our offers, and not gaine-say our 
requests, so long as they containe themselves within the 
bounds of modestie? Wherefore should we imagine, they 
inwardly affect a freer meaning? A Queene of our time 
said wittily, that to refuse mens kinde summons, is a testi- 
mony of mucli weaknesse, and an accusing of ones oivne 
facility: and that an unattempted Lady could not vaunt of 
her chastitie. Honours limits are not restrained so short : 
they may somewhat be slacked, and without offending 
somewhat dispensed withall. At the end of his frontiers, 
there is left a free, indifferent, and newter space. He that 
could drive and force his mistresse into a corner, and 
reduce her into her fort, hath no great matter in him, if 
he be not content with his fortune. The price or honor 
of the conquest is rated by the difficultie. Will you know 
what impression your merits, your services and worth have 
made in her heart? Judge of it by her behaviour and 

Some one may give more, that (all things considered) 
giveth not so jnuch. The obligation of a benefit hath 

88 Montaigne's Essayes | 

wholly reference unto the will of him that giveth : other 
circumstances which fall within the compasse of good- 
turnes, are dumbe, dead and casuall. That little she g^iveth 
may cost her more, then all her companion hath. If rare- 
nesse be in any thing worthy estimation, it ought to be 
in this. Respect not how little it is, but how few have it 
to give. The value of money is changed according to the 
coine, stampe or marke of the place. Whatsoever the 
spight or indiscretion of some, may upon the excesse of 
their discontentment, make them say ; Vertue and truth doe 
ever recover their advantage. I have knowen some, whose 
reputation hath long time beene impeached by wrong, and 
interessed by reproach, restored unto all mens good opinion 
and generall approbation, without care or Art, onely by 
their constancie ; each repenting and denying what he 
formerly beleeved. From wenches somewhat suspected, 
they now hold the first ranke amongst honourable Ladies. 
Some told Plato, that all the world spake ill of him ; Let 
them say what they list (quoth hee) I will so live, that He 
make them recant and change their speeches. Besides the 
feare of God, and the reward of so rare a glory, which 
should incite them to preserve themselves, the corruption 
of our age enforceth them unto it : and were I in their 
clothes, there is nothing but I would rather doe, then comi 
mit my reputation into so dangerous hands. In my time, 
the pleasure of reporting and blabbing what one hath 
done (a pleasure not much short of the act it selfe in 
swectnesse) was only allowed to such as had some assured, 
trustie and singular friend ; whereas now-a-daies, the ordi- 
nary entertainements and familiar discourses of meetings 
and at tables, are the boastings of favours received, graces 
obtained, and secret liberalities of Ladies. Verily it is toe 
great an abjection, and argueth a basenesse of heart, sc 
fiercely to suffer those tender, daintie, delicious joyes, tc 
be persecuted, pelted, and foraged by persons so ungrate- 
full, so undiscreet, and so giddy-headed. This our im- 
moderate and lawlesse exasperation against this vice, pro- 
ceedeth and is bred of jealousie ; the most vaine anc 
turbulent infirmitie that may afflict mans minde. 

Quis vetat apposito lumcii de lumiue sumi? 
Dent licet as^siduc, nil iamcn inde perit. 

Ovid. Art. Amand. iii. 93. 

The Third Booke Chap. V 89 

To borrow light of light, who would deny? 
Though still they give, nothing is lost thereby. 

That, and Envie her sister, are (in mine opinion) the 
fondest of the troupe. Of the latter, I cannot say much ; 
a passion which how effectuall and powerfull soever they 
set forth ; of her good favour she medleth not with me. 
As for the other, I know it only by sight. Beasts have 
some feehng of it. The shepheard Gratis being fallen in 
love with a shee Goat, her Bucke for jealousie beat out his 
braines as hee lay asleepe. Wee have raised to the highest 
straine the excesse of this moodie feaver, after the example 
of some barbarous nations : The best disciplined have there- 
with beene tainted, it is reason; but not carried away 
by it : 

Ense maritali nemo confossus adulter, 
Purpureo stygias sanguine tinxit aquas. 

With husbands sword yet no adulter slaine, 
With purple blood did Stygian waters staine. 

LuculluSy CcBsatf Pompey, Anthony, Cato, and divers 
other gallant men were Cuckolds, and knew it, though 
they made no stirre about it. There was in all that time 
but one gullish coxcombe Lepidus, that died with the 
anguish of it. 

Ah turn te miserum malique fati. 
Quern aitractis pedibus patcnte portay 
Percurrent mugilesque raphanique. 

Catul. Lyr. Epig. xv. 17. 

Ah thee then wretched, of accursed fate, 
Whom Fish-wives, Redish-wives of base estate, 
Shall scoffing over-runne in open gate. 

And the God of our Poet, when he surprised one of 
his companions napping with his wife, was contented but 
to shame them : 

Atquc aliquis de dis non tristibus optat, 
Sic fieri turpis. — Ovid. Met. iv. 187. 

Some of the merier Gods doth wish in heart. 
To share their shame, of pleasure to take part. 

And yet forbeareth not to be enflamed with the gentle 
dalliances, and amorous blandishments she offereth him, 
complaining that for so slight a matter he should distrust 
her to him deare-deare affection : 

III 442 

90 Montaigne's Essayes 

Quid causas petis ex alto? fiducia cessit 
Quo tibi Diva met? — Virg. /En. viii. 395. 

So farre why fetch you your pleas pedigree? 
Whither is fled the trust you had in mee? 

And which is more, she becomes a suiter to him in th( 
behalfe of a bastard of hers. 

Arma rogo getiitrix nato. — Ihid. 382. 

A mother for a sonne, I crave, 
An armor he of you may have. 

Which is freely granted her : And Vulcan speakes honour- 
ably of jEneas : 

Arma acri facienda viro. — Ibid. 441. 

An armour must be hammered out, 
For one of courage sterne and stout. 

In truth with an humanity, more then humane. And whicl: 
excesse of goodnesse by my consent shall onely be left tc 
the Gods : 

Nee divis hominis componier cequtim est. 

Catul. Eleg. iv. 141. 

Nor is it meet, that men with Gods 
Should be compar'd, there is such ods. 

As for the confusion of children, besides that the gravesl 
law-makers appoint and affect it in their Common-wealths; 
it concerneth not women, with whom this passion is, 1 
wot not how in some sort better placed, fitter seated. 

Sccpe etiaui Juno maxima coclicoluni 
Conjugis in culpa flagravit quotidiana. 

C.\TUL. Eleg. iv. 13S. 

Ev'n Jutio chiefe of Goddesses oft-time, 
Hath growne hot at her husbands daily crime. 

When jealousie once seazeth on these silly, weake, anc 
unresisting soules, 'tis pitifull, to see, how cruelly it tor- 
menteth, insultingly it tyrannizeth them. It insinuatetl: 
It selfe under colour of friendship : but after it once pos- 
sesseth them, the same causes which served for a ground 
of good-will, serve for the foundation of mortall hatred. 
Of all the mindes diseases, that is it, whereto most things 
serve for sustenance, and fewest for remedy. The vertue; 
courage, health, merit and reputation of their husbands^ 
are the firebrands of their despight, and motives of theii 

The Third Booke Chap. V 91 

NiiUcc sunt viitnicitice nisi amoris acerhce. 

Prop. ii. El. viii. 3. 

Xo enmities so bitter prove, 

And sharpe, as those which spring of love. 

This consuming- feaver blemisheth and corrupteth all that 
otherwise is good and goodly in them. And how chaste 
or good a huswife soever a jealous woman is, there is no 
action of hers, but tasteth of sharpnesse and smaks of 
importunity. It is a furious perturbation, a moody agita- 
tion, which throwes them into extremities, altogether 
contrary to the cause. The successe of one Octavius in 
Rome was strange, who having layen with, and enjoied 
the love of Pontia Posthumia, increased his affection by 
enjoying her, and instantly sued to mary her; but being 
unable to perswade her, his extreme passionate love pre- 
cipitated him into effects of a most cruell, mortall and 
inexorable hatred, whereupon he killed her. Likewise the 
ordinary Symptomes or passions of this other amorous 
disease, are intestine hates, slie Monopolies, close con- 
spiracies : 

Noitunque, furens quid fceujina possit. 

\'lRG. yEn. V, 6. 

It is knowne what a woman may, 
Whose raging passions have no stay. 

And a raging spiglit, which so much the more fretteth 
it selfe, by being forced to excuse it selfe under pretence 
of good-will. Now the duty of chastitie hath a large ex- 
tension and farre-reaching compasse. Is it their wull, we 
would have them to bridle? That's a part very pliable 
and active. It is very nimble and quick-rolling to bee 
staled. What? If dreames do sometimes engage them 
so farre, as they cannot dissemble nor deny them ; It lieth 
not in them (nor perhaps in chastitie it selfe, seeing she 
is a female) to shield themselves from concupiscence and 
avoid desiring. If only their will intcresse and engage us, 
where and in what case are we? Imagine what great 
throng of men there would bee, in pursuit of this privi- 
lege, with winged-speed (though without eies and without 
tongue) to be conveied upon the point of every woman that 
would buy him. The Scythian women were wont to thrust 
out the eies of all their slaves and prisoners taken in warre, 

92 Montaigne's Essayes 

thereby to make more free and private use of them. Oh 
'vchat a furious advantage is opportunitie ! He that shoulc 
demand of me, what the chiefe or first part in love is, J 
would answer, To know how to take fit time; even so the 
second, and likewise the third. It is a point which ma} 
doe all in all. I have often wanted fortune, but some- 
times also enterprise. God shield him from harme, thai 
can yet mocke himselfe with it. In this age more rash- 
nesse is required ; which our youths excuse under coloui 
of heat. But should our women looke neerer unto it, the} 
might finde, how it rather proceedeth of contempt. J 
superstitiously feared to offend ; and what I love, I will- 
ingly respect. Besides that, who depriveth this merchan- 
dize of reverence, defaceth all luster of it. I love that c 
man should therem somewhat play the childe, the dastarc 
and the servant. If not altogether in this, yet in som^ 
other things I have some aires or motives of the sottisi 
bashfulnesse, whereof Plutarch speaketh ; and the course 
of my life hath diversly beene wounded and tainted by it : 
a qualitie very ill beseeming my universall forme. Anc 
what is there amongst us, hut sedition and jarring? Mint 
eyes be as tender to beare a refusall as to refuse; and ii 
doth so much trouble me to be troublesome to others, thai 
where occasions force me or dutie compelleth me to trie 
the will of any one, be it in doubtfull things, or of cost untc 
him, I do it but faintly and much against my will : But ii 
it be for mine owne private businesse (though Homer sa} 
most truly, that in an indigent or needy man, bashfulnesse 
is hut a fond vertue) I commonly substitute a third party, 
who may blush in my roome : and direct them that emplo} 
mee, with like difficulty : so that it hath sometimes befallen 
me, to have the will to deny, when I had not power to 
refuse. It is then folly, to go about to bridle women of a 
desire, so fervent and so naturall in them. And when I 
heare them bragge to have so virgin-like a will and cold 
mind, I but laugh and mocke at them. They recoile too 
farre backward. If it be a toothlesse beldame or decrepit 
grandame, or a young drie pthisicke starveling; if it be not 
altogether credible, they have at least some colour or 
apparence to say it. But those which stirre about, and 
have a little breath left them, marre but their market with 
such stuffe : forsomuch as inconsiderate excuses are no 

The Third Booke Chap. V 93 

better than accusations. As a Gentleman my neighbour, 
who was suspected of insufficiencie, 

Languidior tetiera cut pendens siciila beta, 
Nunquoni se inediam susiulit ad tunicam, 

Catul. El. iii. 21. 

to justlfie himselfe, three or foure dayes after his manage, 
swore confidently, that the night before, he had performed 
twenty courses : which oath hath since served to convince 
him of meere ignorance, and to divorce him from his wife. 
Besides, this allegation is of no great worth : For, there 
is nor continencie, nor vertue, where no resistance is to 
the contrary. It is true, may one say, but I am not ready 
to yeeld. The Saints themselves speake so. This is 
understood of such as boast in good earnest of their cold- 
nesse and insensibility, and would be credited with a 
serious countenance : for, when it is from an affected looke 
(where the eyes give words the lie) and from the faltring 
speech of their profession (which ever workes against the 
wooll) I allow of it. I am a duteous servant unto plaine- 
nesse, simplicity and liberty : but there is no remedie, if 
it be not meerely plaine, simple or infantine; it is fond, 
inept and unsecmely for Ladies in this commerce : it 
presently inclineth and bendeth to impudence. Their dis- 

jguisings, their figures and dissimulations cozen none but 
fooles ; their lying sitteth in the chaire of honour ; it is a 

j by-way, which by a false posterne leads us unto truth. 

I If we cannot containe their imaginations, what require we 

I of them? the effects? Many there be, who are free from 
all strangers-communication, by which chastitie may be 
corrupted, and honestie defiled. 

Illnd sccpe facit, quod sine teste facit. 

Mart. vii. Epig. Ixi. 6. 

What she doth with no witnesse to it, 
She often may be found to do it. 

And those whom we feare least, are peradventure most 
to he feared: their secret sins are the worst. 

Offender moecha simpliciore minus. 

Ibid. vi. Epig. vii. 6. 

Pleas 'd with a whores simplicity, 
Offended with her nicitie. 

There are effects, which without impuritie may lose them 

94 Montaig'ne's Essayes 

their pudicitie ; and which is more, without their know- 
ledge. Ohstctrix virginis cujusdani integritaiem manu 
■velut explorans, sive malevolentia, sive inscitia, sive casu, 
dum inspicit, perdidit: A Midimfe searching ivith her finger 
into a certaine maidens virginity, either for ill will, or of 
unskilfulnesse, or hy chance, whilest shee seekes and lookes 
into it, shee lost and spoiled it. Some one hath lost or 
wrong-ed her virginity in looking or searching for it ; some 
other killed the same in playing with it. Wee are not able 
precisely to circumscribe them the actions we forbid them :, 
Our law must be conceived under generall and uncertaine 
termes. The very Idea we forge unto their chastity is 
ridiculous. For, amongst the extremest examples or 
patternes I have of it, it is Fatua the wife of Faunas ; who 
after shee was maried, would never suffer her selfe to be 
scene of any man whatsoever. And Hierons wife, that 
never felt her husbands stinking breath, supposing it to^ 
be a quality common to all men. It were necessary, that 
to satisfie and please us, they should become insensible 
and invisible. Now let us confesse, that the knot of the 
judgement of this duty consisteth principally in the will. 
There have beene husbands who have endured this acci- 
dent, not only without reproach and offence against their 
wives, but with singular acknowledgement, obligation and 
commendation to their vertue. Some one that more 
esteemed her honestie then she loved her life, hath pros- 
tituted the same unto the lawlesse lust and raging sen- 
suality of a mortall hatefull enemy, thereby to save her 
husbands life; and hath done that for him, which she 
could never have beene induced to do for her selfe. This 
is no place to extend these examples : they are too high 
and over-rich, to be presented in this luster ; let us there- 
fore reserve them for a nobler seat. But to give you some 
examples of a more vulgar stampe : Are there not women 
daily scene amongst us, who for the only profit of their 
husbands, and by their expresse order and brokage, make 
sale of their honesty? And in old times PhaiiUus the 
Argian, through ambition offred his to King Philip. Even 
as that Galha, who bestowed a supper on Mecenas, per- 
ceiving him and his wife beginne to bandy eie-trickes and 
signes, of civility shrunke downe upon his cushion, as one 
[oppressed] with sleepe; to give better scope unto their 

The Third Booke Chap. V 95 

love ; which he avouched as pretily : for at that Instant, a 
servant of his presuming^ to lay hands on the plate u^hich 
was on the table, he cried outright unto him ; How now 
varlet? Seest thou not I sleepe only for Mccenas? One 
may be of a loose behaviour, yet of purer will and better 
reformed, then another v/ho frameth her selfe to a precise 
apparance. As some are scene complalne because they 
vowed chastitie before yeeres of discretion or knowledge : 
so have I scene others unfainedly bewalle and truly lament 
that they were vowed to licentiousnesse and dissolutenes 
before the age of judgement and distinction. The parents 
leaudnesse may be the cause of it; or the force of impul- 
sive necessity, which is a shrewd counsellor, and a violent 
perswader. Though chastity were in the East Indias of 
singular esteeme, yet the custome permitted, that a 
maried wife might freely betake her selfe to what man 
soever did present her an Elephant : and that which some 
g^lory to have been valued at so high a rate. PJiedon the 
Philosopher, of a noble house, after the taking of his 
country Elis, professed to prostitute the beauty of his 
youth to all commers, so long as it should continue, for 
money to live with and beare his charges. And Solon 
was the first of Grece (say some) who by his lawes, gave 
women liberty, by the price of their honestie, to provide 
for their necessities : A custome which Heroditus report- 
eth, to have beene entertained before him in divers Com- 
monwealths. And m.oreover, what fruit yeelds this care- 
full vexation? For, what justice soever be in this passion, 
yet should we note whether it harrie us unto our profit or 
no. Thinkes any man that he can ring them by his 

Pone serai'u, cohibe ; scd quis custodict ipsos 
Custodes? cauta est, et ah illis incipit uxor. 

JuvEN. Sat. vi. 247. 

Keepe her with locke and key : but from her who shall keepe 
Her Keepers? She begins with them, her wits so deepe. 

What advantage sufficeth them not, in this so skilfull 
age? Curiosity is every where vicious; hut herein per- 
nicious. It is meere folly for one to seeke to be resolved 
of a doubt, or search into a mischiefe; for which there 
is no remedie, but makes it worse, but festereth the same : 

96 Montaigne's Essayes 

the reproach whereof is increased, and chiefely published 
by jealousie : and the revenge whereof doth more w^ound 
and disgrace our children, then it helpeth or graceth us. 
You waste away and die in pursuit of so concealed a 
mysterie, of so obscure a verification. Whereunto how 
pitiously have they arrived, who in my time have attained 
their purpose? If the accuser, or intelligencer present not 
withall the remedy and his assistance, his office is injuri- 
ous, his intelligence harmefull, and which better deserveth 
a stabbe, then doth a lie. Wee flout him no lesse, that 
toileth to prevent it, then laugh at him that is a Cuckold 
and knowes it not. The character of cuckoldrie is per- 
petuall; on whom it once fastnethy it holdeth for ever. 
The punishment bewraieth it more then the fault. It is 
a goodly sight, to draw our private misfortunes from out 
the shadow of oblivion or dungeon of doubt, for to blazon 
and proclaime them on Tragicall Stages : and misfor- 
tunes which pinch us not, but by relation. For (as the 
saying is) she is a good wife, and that a good mariage, 
not that is so indeed, but whereof no man speaketh. Wee 
ought to be wittly-wary to avoid this irksome, this tedi- 
ous and unprofitable knowledge. The Romans were 
accustomed, when they returned from any journey, to 
send home before, and give their wives notice of their 
comming, that so they might not surprize them. And 
therefore hath a certaine nation instituted the Priest to 
open the way unto the Bridegroome, on the wedding day, 
thereby to take from him the doubt and curiosity of search- 
ing in this first attempt, whether shee come a pure virgin 
to him, or be broken and tainted with any former love. 
But the world speakes of it. I know a hundred Cockolds, 
which are so, honestly and little undecently. An honest 
man and a gallant spirit, is moaned, but not disesteemed 
by it. Cause your vertue to suppresse your mishap ; that 
honest-minded men may blame the occasion, and curse 
the cause ; that he which offends you, may tremble with 
onely thinking of it. And moreover, what man is scot- 
free, or who is not spoken of in this sense, from the 
meanest unto the highest? 

— tot qui legionibus imperitavit, 
Et melioT qudm tu muUis fuit, improbe, rebus. 

LucR. iii. 1070. 

The Third Booke Chap. V. 97 

He that so many bands of men commanded, 

Thy better much, sir knave, was much like branded. 

Seest thou not how many honest men, even In thy 
presence, are spoken of and touched with this reproach? 
Imagine then they will be as bold with thee, and say as 
much of thee elsewhere. For no man is spared. And 
even Ladies will scoffe and prattle of it. And what do 
they now adaies more willino-ly flout at, then at any well 
composed and peaceable mariage? There is none of you 
all but hath made one Cuckold or other : Now nature 
stood ever on this point, Kae mee He kae thee^ and ever 
ready to bee even alwaies on recompences and vicissitude 
of things, and to give as good as one brings. The long- 
continued frequence of this accident, should by this time 
have seasoned the bitter taste thereof : It is almost be- 
come a custome. Oh miserable passion, which hath also 
this mischiefe, to be incommunicable. 

Fors etiam nostris invidit quccstihus aures. 

Catul. her. Argon. 170. 
Fortune ev'n earcs envied, 
To heare us when we cried. 

For, to what friend dare you entrust your grievances, 
who, if hee laugh not at them, will not make use of them, 
as a direction and instruction to take a share of the quarie 
or bootie to himselfe? As well the sowrenesse and in- 
conveniences, as the sweetnesse and pleasures incident to 
mariage, are secretly concealed by the wiser sort. And 
amongst other importunate conditions belonging to wed- 
locke, this one, unto a babling fellow as I am, is of the 
chiefest ; that tyrannous custome makes it uncomely and 
hurtfull, for a man to communicate with any one all hee 
knowes and thinkes of it. To give women advice to 
distaste them from jealousie, were but time lost or labour 
spent in vaine : Their essence is so infected with suspi- 
cion, with vanity and curiosity, that we may not hope 
to cure them by any lawfull meane. They often recover 
of this infirmitie by a forme of health, much more to be 
feared, then the disease it selfe. For even as some in- 
chantment cannot ridde away an evill, but with laying it 
on another, so when they lose it, they transferre and 
bestow this maladie on their husbands. And to say truth, 
I wot not whether a man can endure any thing at their 

98 Montaigne*s Essayes 

hands worse then jealousie : of all their conditions it is 
most dangerous, as the head of all their members. Pit- 
tacus said, that every man had one imperfection or other: 
his wives curst pate was his; and but for that, he should 
esteeme himselfe most happy. It must needs be a weightie 
inconvenience, wherewith so just, so wise and worthy a 
man, felt the state of his whole life distempered : what 
shall wee pettie fellowes doe then? The Senate of Mar- 
ceille had reason to grant and enroll his request who 
demanded leave to kill himselfe, thereby to free and 
exempt himselfe from his wives tempestuous scolding- 
humor, for it is an evilly that is never cleane rid away, hut 
by removing the whole peece : and hath no other composi- 
tion of worth, but flight or sufferance; both too-too hard, 
God knowes. And in my conceit, he understood it right, 
that said, a good tnariage might he made hetweene a 
hlinde woman and a deafe man. Let us also take heed, 
lest this great and violent strictnesse of obligation we 
enjoine them, produce not two effects contrary to our end : 
that is to wit, to set an edge upon their suiters stomacks, 
and make women more easie to yeeld. For, as concern- 
ing the first point, enhancing the price of the place, we 
raise the price and endear e the desire of the conquest. 
Might it not be Venus her selfe, who so cunningly en- 
hanced the market of her ware, by the brokage or 
panderizing of the lawes? knowing how sottish and taste- 
lesse a delight it is, were it not enabled by opinion, and 
endeared by dearnes? To conclude, it is all but hogges 
flesh, varied by sauce, as said Flaminius his hoast. Cupid 
is a roguish God ; his sport is to wrestle with devotion 
and to contend with justice. It is his glory, that his 
power checketh and copes all other might, and that all 
other rules give place to his. 

Matcriam culpcB proseqiiiturque sua;. 

Ovid. Trist. iv. El. i. 34. 

He prosecutes the ground, 
Where he is faulty found. 

And as for the second point; should wee not be lesse 
Cuckolds if we lesse feared to be so? according to wo'-rens 
conditions : whom inhibition inciteth, and restraint 

The Third Booke Chap. V 99 

Ubi velis nolunt, ubi nolis volimt uliro : 

Ter. Eunuc. act. iv. sc. 6. 

They will not when you will, 
When you will not, they will. 

Conccssa piidct ire via. — I.UCAN. ii. 445. 

They are asham'd to passe 
The way that granted was. 

What better interpretation can we finde concerning 
Messalinas demeanor? In the beginning she made her 
silly husband Cuckold, secretly and by stealth (as the 
fashion is) but perceiving how uncontrolled and easily she 
went on with her matches, by reason of the stupidity that 
possessed him, shee presently contemned and forsooke 
that course, and began openly to make love, to avouch 
her servants, to entertaine and favour them in open view 
of all men ; and would have him take notice of it, and 
seeme to be distasted with it : but the silly gull and sense- 
lesse coxcombe awaked not for all this, and by his over- 
base facility, by which hee seemed to authorize and legiti- 
mate her humours, yeelding her pleasures weerish, and 
her amours tastelesse : what did shee? Being the wife 
of an Emperour, lustie, in health and living; and where? 
In Rome^ on the worlds chiefe Theater, at high noone- 
day, at a stately feast, in a publike ceremonie ; and which 
is more, with one Silius, whom long time before she had 
freely enjoied, she was solemnly maried one day that her 
husband was out of the Citie. Seemes it not that shee 
tooke a direct course to become chaste, by the retchles- 
nesse of her husband? or that she sought another hus- 
band, who by jealousie might whet her appetite, and who 
insisting might incite her? But the first difficultie she 
met with, was also the last. The drowzie beast rouzed 
himselfe and suddenly started up. 07ie hath often the 
worst bargaines at the hands of such sluggish logger 
heads. I have scene by experience, that this extreme 
patience or long-sufferance, if it once come to be dissolved, 
produceth most bitter and outragious revenges : for, tak- 
ing fire all at once, choller and fury hudling all together, 
becomming one confused chaos, clattereth foorth their 
violent effects at the first charge. 

Jrarumque omnes effundit habenas. 

ViRG. .^n. xij. 499. 

loo Montaigne^s Essayes 

It quite lets loose the raine, 
That anger should rcstraine. 

He caused both her and a great number of her instruments 
and abettors to be put to death; yea such as could not 
doe withall, and whom by force of whipping- shee had 
allured to her adulterous bed. What Virgill saith of 
Venus and Vtdcan, Lucretius had more sutably said it of 
a secretly-stolne enjoying betweene her and Mars. 

— belli fera munera Mavors 
Armipotens regit, in gremium qui scepe tuum se 
Rejicit, ceterno devinctus vulncrc anioris : 
Pascit amorc avidos inhians in te Dea visits, 
Eque tuo pendet resupini spiritus ore : 
Hunc tu Diva tuo recubantetn corpore sancio 
Circunfnsa super, suaveis ex ore loquclas 
Funde. — Lucret. i. 33. 

Mars mighty-arm 'd, rules the fierce feats of armes. 
Yet often casts himselfe into thine armes, 
Oblig'd thereto by endlesse wounds of love, 
Gaping on thee feeds greedy sight with love, 
His breath hangs at thy mouth who upward lies ; 
Goddesse thou circling him, while he so lies, 
With thy celestiall body, speeches sweet 
Powre from thy mouth (as any Nectar sweet.) 

When I consider this, rejicit, pascit, inhians, mollis 
fovet, medullas, labefacta, pendet, percurrit, and this 
noble circiinfusa, mother of gentle infiisus, I am vexed 
at these small points and verball allusions, which since 
have sprung up. To those well-meaning people, there 
needed no sharpe encounter or witty equivocation : Their 
speech is altogether full and massie, with a naturall and 
constant vigor : They are all epigram ; not only taile, 
but head, stomacke and feet. There is nothing forced, 
nothing wrested, nothing limping ; all marcheth with like 
tenour. Contextiis totus virilis est, non sunt circa jios- 
ctdos occupati. The whole composition or text is manly, 
they are not hehusied about Rhetorike flowers. This is 
not a soft quaint eloquence, and only without offence, it is 
sinnowie, materiall, and solid ; not so much delighting, as 
filling and ravishing, and ravisheth most the strongest 
wits, the wittiest conceits. When I behold these gallant 
formes of expressing, so lively, so nimble, so deepe : I 
say not this is to speake well, but to think wel. It is the 
quaintnesse or livelinesse of the conceit, that elevateth and 

The Third Booke Chap. V loi 

puffes up the words. Pectus est quod disertum facit. It 
IS a mans oivne hrest, that makes him eloquent. Our 
people terme judg-ement, language ; and full conceptions, 
fine words. This pourtraiture is directed not so much by 
the hands dexterity, as by having the object more lively 
printed in the minde. Gallus speakes plainly, be<;^use he* 
conceiveth plainly. Horace is not pleased with a sleight 
or superficiall expressing, it would betray him ; he seeth 
more cleere and further into matters : his spirit pickes and 
ransaketh the whole store-house of words and figures, to 
shew and present himselfe ; and he must have them more 
then ordinary, as his conceit Is beyond ordinary. Plutarch 
saith, that he discerned the Latine tongue by things. 
Here likewise the sense enlightneth and produceth the 
words : no longer windy or spongy, but of flesh and bone. 
They signifie more then they utter. Even weake ones 
shew some image of this. For, in Italie, I spake what I 
listed in ordinary discourses, but in more serious and pithy, 
I durst not have dared to trust to an Idiome, which I 
could not winde or turnc beyond it's common grace, or 
vulgar bias. I will be able to adde and use in it somewhat 
of mine owne. The managing and emploiment of good 
wits, endeareth and giveth grace unto a tongue : Not so 
much innovating as filling the same with more forcible 
and divers services, wresting, straining and enfolding it. 
They bring no words unto it, but enrich their owne, waigh- 
downe and cramme-in their signification and custome ; 
teaching it unwonted motions ; but wisely and ingenuously. 
Which skill how little it is given to all, may plainly bee 
discerned by most of our moderne French Writers. They 
are over-bold and scornefull, to shunne the common 
trodden path : but want of invention and lacke of discre- 
tion looseth them. There is nothing to be scene in them 
but a miserable strained affectation of strange Inke-pot 
termes ; harsh, cold and absurd disguisements, which in 
stead of raising, pull downe the matter. So they may 
gallantize and flush it in noveltie, they care not for 
eificacie. To take hold of a new farre-fetcht word, they 
neglect the usuall, which often are more significant, 
forcible and sinnowy. I finde sufficient store of stuflfe in 
our language, but some defect of fashion. For there is 
nothing but could be framed of our Hunters gibbrisl^ 

I02 Montaigne's Essayes 

words or strang-e phrases, and of our Warriours peculiar 
tearmes ; a fruitful! and rich soile to borrow of. And as 
hearhes and trees are bettered and fortified by being trans' 
planted, so formes of speach are embellished and graced 
by variation. I finde it sufficiently plenteous, but not 
sufficiently plyable and vigorous. It commonly faileth and 
shrinketh under a pithy and powerfull conception. If your 
march therein be far extended, you often feele it droope 
and langfuish under you, unto whose default the Latine 
doth now and then present his helping: hand, and the 
Greeke to some others. By some of these words which 
I have culled out, we more hardly perceive the Energie 
or effectuall operation of them, forsomuch as use and fre- 
quencie have In some sort abased the grace and made their 
beauty vulgar. As in our ordinary language, we shall 
sometimes meete with excellent phrases, and quaint meta- 
phors, whose blithenesse fadeth through age, and colour 
is tarnished by too common using them. But that doth 
nothing distaste those of sound judgement, nor derogate 
from the glory of those ancient Authors, who, as it is 
likely, were the first that brought these words into luster^ 
and raised them to that straine. The Sciences handle 
this over finely, with an artificiall maner, and different 
from the vulgar and naturall forme. My Page makes 
love, and understands it feelingly ; Read Leon Hebrceus 
or Ficinus unto him ; you speake of him, of his thoughts 
and of his actions, yet understands he nothing what you 
meane. I nor acknowledge nor discerne in Aristotle, the 
most part of my ordinary motions. They are clothed with 
other robes, and shrouded under other vestures, for the 
use of Academlcall schooles. God send them well to 
speed ; but were I of the trade, I would naturalize Arte, 
as much as they Artize nature. [There let us leave] Benho 
and Equicola. \Vhen I write, I can well omit the com- 
pany, and spare the remembrance of books ; for feare they 
Interrupt my forme. And In truth, good Authours deject me 
too-too much, and qualle my courage. I willingly imitate 
that Painter, who having bungler-like drawn, and fondly 
represented some Cockes, forbad his boles to suffer any 
live Cocke to come into his shop. And to give my selfe 
some luster or grace have rather neede of some of An^ 
tinonydes the Musicians invention ; who when he was to 

The Third Booke Chap. V 103 

play any musick, gave order that before or after him, some 
other bad musicians should cloy and surfet his auditory. 
But I can very hardly be without Plutark; he is so uni- 
versal! and so full, that upon all occasions, and whatso- 
ever extravagant subject you have undertaken, he in- 
trudeth himselfe into your work, and gently reacheth you a 
helpe-affording hand, fraught with rare embelishments, 
and inexhaustible of precious riches. It spights me, that 
he is so much exposed unto the pillage of those which 
haunt him. He can no sooner come in my sight, or if I 
cast but a glance upon him, but I pull some legge or wing 
from him. For this my dissignement, it much fitteth my 
purpose, that I write in mine owne house, in a wild country, 
where no man helpeth or releeveth me; where I converse 
with no body that understands the Latine of his Pater 
noster and as little of French. I should no doubt have 
done it better else where, but then the worke had becne 
lesse mine : whose principal! drift and perfection, is to be 
exactly mine; I could mend an accidentall errour, whereof 
I abound in mine unwary course ; but it were a kinde of 
treason to remove the imperfections from me, which in 
me are ordinary and constant. When any body else, or 
my selfe have said unto my selfe : Thou art too full of 
figures or allegories ; here is a word meerely-bred Gas- 
koyne ; that's a dangerous phrase : (I refuse none that are 
used in the frequented streets of Frmice; those that will 
combat use and custome by the strict rules of Grammar 
do but jest) there's an ignorant discourse, that's a para- 
doxical! relation : or there's a foolish conceit : thou doest 
often iDUt dally : one will thinke thou speakest in earnest, 
what thou hast but spoken in jest. Yea (say I) but I 
correct unadvised, not customarie errors. Speake I not so 
every where? Doe I not lively display my selfe? that 
sufficeth : I have [my] will : All the world may know me 
by my booke, and my booke by me : But I am of an Apish 
and imitating condition. When I medled with making 
of verses (and I never made any but in Latine) they evi- 
dently accused the Poet I came last from reading : And of 
my first Essayes, some taste a little of the stranger. At 
Paris I speal^e somewhat otherwise then at Montaigne. 
Whom I behold with attention, doth easily convay and 
imprint something of his in me. What I heedily con- 

I04 Montaigne's Essayes 

sider, the same I usurpe : a foolish countenance, a crabbed 
looke, a ridiculous manner of speach. And vices more : 
Because they pricke mee, they take fast hold upon mee, 
and leave mee not, unlesse I shake them oif. I have more 
often beene heard to svveare by imitation, then by com- 
plexion. Oh injurious and dead-killingf imitation : like 
that of those huge in greatnesse and matchlesse in strength 
Apes, which Alexander met withall in a certaine part of 
India: which otherwise it had beene hard to vanquish. 
But by this their inclination to counterfeit whatsoever 
they saw done, they afforded the meanes. For, thereby 
the Hunters learn 't in their sight to put on shooes, and tie 
them with many strings and knots ; to dresse their heads 
with divers strange attires, full of sliding-knots ; and dis- 
semblingly to rub their eyes with Glew, or Birde-lime. So 
did those silly harmelesse beasts indiscreetly employ their 
Apish disposition. They ensnared, glewed, entrameled, 
haltred and shackled themselves. That other faculty of 
Extempore and wittily representing the gestures and words 
of another, which often causeth sport and breedeth admir- 
ing, is no more in me then in a blocke. When I sweare 
after mine owne fashion, it is onely by God ; the directest 
of all oathes. They report that Socrates swore by a 
Dogge ; Zeno by that interjection (now a dales used 
amongst the Italics) Capari; and Pithagoras by water and 
by aire. I am so apt at unawares to entertaine these 
superficiall impressions, that if but for three dales to- 
gether I use my selfe to speake to any Prince with your 
Grace or your Highnesse, for eight dales after I so forget 
my selfe, that I shall still use them for your Honour or 
your Worship : and what I am wont to speake in sport or 
jest the next day after I shall speake in good serious 
earnest. Therefore in writing I assume more unwillingly 
much beaten arguments, for feare I handle them at others 
charges. All arguments are alike fertile to me. I take 
them upon any trifle. And I pray God this were not 
undertaken by the commandement of a minde as fleeting. 
Let me begin with that likes me best, for all matters are 
linked one to another. But my conceit displeaseth me, 
for somuch as it commonly produceth most foolish dotages 
from deepest studies ; and such as content me on a sudf 
daine, and when I least looke for them ; which as fast 

The Third Booke Chap. V 105 

fleete away, wanting" at that instant some holde fast. On 
horse backe, at the table, in my bed ; but most on horse- 
backe, where my amplest meditations and my farthest 
reaching conceits are. My speach is somewhat nicely 
jealous of attention and silence; if I be in any earnest 
talke, who interrupteth me, cuts me off. In travell, even 
the necessity of waies breakes off discourses. Besides 
that I most commonly travell without company, which is 
a great helpe for continued reasoning's : whereby I have 
sufficient leasure to entertaine my selfe. I thereby have 
that successe I have in dreames : In dreaming 1 commend 
them to my memory (for what I dream I doe it willingly) 
but the next morning, I can well call to minde wHat colour 
they were of, whether blith, sad or strange : but what in 
substance, the more I labour to finde out, the more I over- 
whelme them in oblivion. So of casuall and unpremedi- 
tated conceits that come into my braine, nought but a 
vaine image of them remaineth in my memory : so much 
onely, as sufficeth unprofitably to make me chafe, spight 
and fret in pursuite of them. Well then, leaving bookes 
aside and speaking more materially and simply ; when all 
is done : I finde that love is nothing else but an insatiate 
thirst of enjoying a greedily desired subject. Nor Venus 
that good huswife, other, then a tickling- delight of empty- 
ing ones seminary vessels : as is the pleasure which nature 
giveth us to discharge other parts : which becommeth 
faulty by immoderation, and defective by indiscretion. 
To Socrates y love is an appetite of generation by the 
mediation of beauty. Now considering oftentimes the 
ridiculous tickling, or titilation of this pleasure, the absurd, 
giddy and hare-braind motions wherwith it tosseth Zeno^ 
and agitates Cratippus : that unadvised rage, that furious 
and with cruelty enflamed visage in loves lustfull and 
sweetest effects : and then a grave, sterne, severe, surly 
countenance in so fond-fond an action, that one hath pell- 
mell lodged our joyes and filthes together, and that the 
supremest voluptuousnesse both ravisheth and plaineth, 
as doth sorrow : I beleeve that which Plato sales to be 
true, that man was made by the Gods for them to toy and 
play withall. 

— qucenam ista jocandi Scevitia ? 
What cruelty is this, so set on jesting is? 

io6 Montaigne's Essayes 

And that Nature in mockery left us the most trouble- 
some of our actions, the most common : thereby to equal! 
us, and without distinction to set the foolish and the wise, 
us and beasts all in one ranke : no barrell better Hering. 
When I imagine the most contemplative and discreetly- 
wise-men in these tearmes in that humour, I hold him for 
a cozoner, for a cheater to seeme either studiously con- 
templative, or discreetly wise. It is the foulenesse of the 
Peacockes feete, which doth abate his pride, and stoope 
his gloating-eyed tayle ; 

— ridentetn dicere veruin, 
Quid vetat? — HoR. Ser. i. Sat. ii. 24. 

What should forbid thee sooth to say, yet be as mery as we may. 

Those which in playes refuse serious opinions, doe as 
one reporteth, like unto him who dreadeth to adore the 
image of a Saint, if it want a cover, an aprone or a taber- 
nacle. We feed full well, and drinke like beasts; but they 
are not actions that hinder the offices of our mind. In 
those, we hold good our advantage over them : whereas 
this brings each other thought under subjection and, by 
it's imperious authority makes ibrutish and dulleth all 
Platoes philosophy and divinity : and yet he complaines 
not of it. In al other things you may observe decorum 
and maintalne some decency : all other operations admit 
some rules of honesty : this cannot onely be imagined, but 
vicious or ridiculous. See whether for example sake, you 
can but find a wise or discreete proceeding in it. Alex- 
ander said, that he knew himselfe mortall chiefly by this 
action, and by sleeping : sleepe doth stifle, and suppresseth 
the faculties of our soule : and that both [devoureth] and 
dissipates them. Surely it is an argument not onely of 
our originall corruption, but a badge of our vanity and 
deformity. On the one side nature urgeth us unto it : 
having thereunto combined, yea fastned, the most noble, 
the most profitable, and the most sensually-pleasing, of 
all her functions : and on the other suffereth us to accuse, 
to condemne and to shunne it, as insolent, as dishonest, 
and as lewder to blush at it, and allow, yea and to com- 
mend abstinence. Are not we most brutish, to terme that 
worke beastly which begets, and which maketh us? Most 
people have concurred in divers ceremonies of religion, as 

The Third Booke Chap. V 107 

sacrifices, luminaries, fastings, incensings, offrings : and 
amongst others, in condemning of this action. All 
opinions agree in that, besides the so farre-extended use 
of circumcision. Wee have peradventure reason to blame 
our selves, for making so foolish a production as man, 
and to entitle both the deeds and parts thereto belonging, 
shamefull (mine are properly so at this instant). The 
EssenienSy of whom Plinie speaketh, maintained them- 
selves a long time without nurces, or swathling clothes, 
by the arrival of strangers that came to their shoares, who 
seconding their fond humor, did often visit them. A 
whole nation hazarding rather to consume, then engage 
themselves to feminine embracements : and rather lose the 
succession of all men, then forge one. They report that 
Zeno never dealt with woman but once in all his life : 
which he did for civility, least he should over obstinately 
seeme to contemne the sex. Each one avoideth to see a 
man borne, hut all runne hastily to see him dye. To 
destroy him we seek a spacious field and a full light : but 
to construct him, we hide our selves in some dark corner, 
and worke as close as we may. It is our dutie to conceale 
our selves in making him : it is our glory, and the originall 
of many vertues to destroy him, being framed. The one 
is a manifest injury, the other a greater favor : for Aristotle 
saith, that in a ccrtaine phrase, where he was borne; to 
bonifie or benefit, was as much to say as to kill one. The 
Athenians, to equall the disgrace of these two actions, 
being to cleanse the He of Delos, and justifie themselves 
unto Apolloy forbad within that precinct all buriall and 
births. Nostri nosmet pcenitet (Ter. Phor.), We are 
weary of our selves. There are some nations that when 
they are eating, they cover themselves. I know a Lady 
(yea one of the greatest) who is of opinion that to chew 
is an unseemly thing, which much empaireth their grace 
and beauty : and therefore by hir will she never comes 
abroad with an appetite. And a man that cannot endure 
one should see him eate, and shunneth all company more 
when he fiUeth, then when he emptieth himselfe. In the 
Turkish Empire there are many, who to excell the rest, 
will not be scene when they are feeding, and who make 
but one meale in a weeke : who mangle their faces and 
cut their limmes : and who never speake to any body, who 

io8 Montaigne's Essayes 

think to honour their nature, by dlsnaturingf themselves 
oh [fanaticall] people, that prize themselves by their con- 
tempt, and mend [by] their empairing. What monstrous 
beast is this that maks himselfe a horror to himselfe, 
whom his delig-hts displease, who tyes himselfe unto mis- 
fortune? some there are that conceale their life, 

Exilioque doiuos et duJcia Hmina mutant. 

ViRG. Georg. u, 511. 

They change for banishment, The places that might best content, 

and steale it from the sight of other men : That eschew 
health, and shunne mirth as hatefull qualities and harme- 
full. Not onely divers Sects, but many people curse their 
birth and blesse their death. Some there be that abhorre 
the g-lorious Sunne, and adore the hidious darkenesse. 
We are not ingenious but to our own vexation : It is the 
true foode of our spirits force : a dangerous and most 
unruly implement. 

O rtiiseri quorum gaudia crimen hahcnt. 

Cor. Gal. EJ. 1. 188. 

O miserable the}', whose joyes in fault we lay. 

Alas poore silly man, thou hast iDut too-too many neces- 
sary and unavoidable incommodities, without increasing 
them by thine owne invention, and art sufficiently wretched 
of condition without any arte : thou aboundest in reall and 
essentiall deformities, and needest not forge any by 
imagination. Doest thou find thy selfe too well at ease, 
unlesse the moity of thine ease molest thee? Kindest 
thou to have supplied or discharged al necessary offices, 
wherto nature engageth thee, and that she is idle in thee, 
if thou binde not thy selfe unto new offices? thou fearest 
not to offend hir universall and undoubted lawes, and art 
mooved at thine owne partiall and fantasticall ones. And 
by how much more particular, uncertaine, and contradicted 
they are, the more endevours thou bestowest that way. 
The positive orders of thy parish tie thee, those of the 
world do nothing concerne thee. Runne but a little over 
the examples of this consideration ; thy life is full of them. 
The verses of these two Poets, handling lasciviousnesse 
so sparingly and so discreetly, as they do, in my conceit 
seeme to discover, and display it nearer; ladies cover 
iheir bosome with networke; priests many sacred things 

The Third Booke Chap. V 109 

with a valle, and painters shadow their workes, to give 
them the more luster, and to adde more grace unto them. 
And they say that the streakes of the Sunne, and force of 
the winde, are much more violent by reflection, then by 
a direct line. The Egyptian answered him wisely, that 
asked him, what he had hidden under his cloake? it is 
(quoth he) hidden under my cloakey that thou 7naiest not 
know what it is. But there are certaine other things 
which men conceale to shew them. Here this fellow 
more open. 

Et nudam pressi corpus adusque ryieuni. 

Ovid. Am. i. El. v. 24. 

My body I applide, Even to her naked side. 

Me thinkes he baffles me. Let Martiall at his pleasure 
tuck-up Venus, he makes her not by much appeare so 
wholly. He that speakes all he knows, doth cloy and dis' 
taste us. Who feareth to expresse himselfe, leadeth our 
conceite to imagine more then happily he conceiveth. 
There is treason in this kind of modesty : and chiefly as 
these do, in opening us so faire a path unto imagination : 
Both the action and description should taste of purloyn- 
ing. The love of the Spaniards, and of the Itahans 
pleaseth me : by how much more respective and fearefull 
it is, the more nicely close and closely nice it is, I wot not 
who in ancient time wished his throat were as long as a 
Cranes neck, that so hee might the longer and more 
leasurely taste what he swallowed. That wish were more 
to purpose then this suddaine and violent pleasure : 
Namely in such natures as mine, who am faulty in sud- 
dainenesse. To stay her fleeting, and delay her with pre- 
ambles, with them all serveth for favour, all is construed 
to be a recompence, a wink, a cast of the eye, a bowing, 
a word, or a signe, a becke is as good as a Dew guard. 
Hee that could dine with the smoake of roste-meat, might 
he not dine at a cheape rate ? would he not soone bee rich ? 
It is a passion that commixeth with small store of solide 
essence, great quantity of doating vanity, and febricitant 
raving : it must therefore be requited and served with the 
like. Let us teach Ladies, to know how to prevaile ; 
ihighly to esteeme themselves ; to ammuse, to circumvent 
and cozen us. We make our last charge the first : we 
shew our selves right French men : ever rash, ever head- 

Tio Montaigne's Essayes 

long-. Wire-drawing- their favours, and enstalling them 
by retaile : each one, even unto miserable old age, findes 
some listes end, according to his worth and merite. He 
who hath no jovissance but in enjoying ; who shootes not 
but to hit the marke; who loves not hunting but for the 
prey ; it belongs not to him to entermedle with our Schoole. 
The more steps and degrees there are : the more delight 
and. honour is there on the top. We should bee pleased 
to bee brought unto it, as unto stately Pallaces, by divers 
porches severall passages, long and pleasant Galleries, 
and well contrived turnings. This dispensation would in 
the end, redound to our benefite ; we should stay on it, 
and longer love to lie at Racke and Manger ; for these 
snatches and away, marre the grace of it. Take away 
hope and desire, we grow faint in our courses, we come 
but lagging after : Our mastery and absolute possession, 
is infinitely to bee feared of them : After they have wholy 
yeelded themselves to the mercy of our faith and con- 
stancy, they have hazarded something : They are rare 
and diflicult vcrtues : so soone as they are ours, we are no 
longer theirs. 

— postqiiam cupidcr mentis satiaia libido est. 
Verba nihil tnctnere, nihil pcrjuria curant. 

Catul. Arg. V. 147. 

The lust of greedy minde once satisfied, 
They feare no words ; nor reke othes falsified, 

And Thrasonides a young Grecian, was so religiously 
amorous of his love, that having after much sute gained 
his mistris hart and favour, he [refused] to enjoy hir, least 
by that jovissance he might or quench, or satisfie, or lan- 
guish that burning flame and restlesse heat wherwith he 
gloried, and so pleasingly fed himself e. Things farre 
fetcht and dearly bought are good for Ladyes. It is the 
deare price makes viands savour the better. See but how 
the forme of salutations, which is peculiar unto our nation, 
doth by it's facility bastardize the grace of kisses, which 
Socrates saith, to be of that consequence, waight and 
danger, to ravish and steale our hearts. It is an un* 
pleasing and injurious custome unto Ladies, that they 
must afford their lips to any man that hath but three 
Lackies following him, how unhandsome and lothsome 
soever lie be : 

The Third Booke Chap. V in 

Cujus Uvida naribus caninis, 
Depcndet glacics, rigetque barba: 
Centum occurrcre malo ciililingis. 

Mart, v. Epig. xciv. lo. 
From whose dog-nosthrils black blew Ise depends, 
Whose beard frost-hardned stands on bristled ends, etc 

Nor do we our selves game much by it ; for as the world 
is divided into foure parts, so for foure faire ones, we 
must kisse fiftie foule : and to a nice or tender stomack, 
as are those of mine age, one ill kisse doth surpay one 
good. In Italy they are passionate and languishing sutors 
to very common and mercinarie women ; and thus they 
defend and excuse themselves, saying ; That even in enjoy- 
ing there he certaine degrees ; and that by humble services, 
they will endevour to obtaine that, which is the most 
absolutely perfect. They sell but their hodyes, their willes 
cannot he put to sale; that is too free, and too much it's 
owne. So say these, that it is the will they attempt, and 
they have reason : It is the will one must serve and most 
solicite. I abhor to imagine mine, a body voide of affec- 
tion. And me seemeth, this frenzie hath some affinity 
with that boyes fond humor, who for pure love would 
wantonize with that fayre Image of Venus, which Prax- 
iteles had made : or of that furious -Egyptian, who lusted 
after a dead womans corpes which he was embaulming 
and stitching up : which was the occasion of the lawe that 
afterward was made in ^gypt: that the bodies of faire, 
young and nobly borne women, should be kept three 
dayes, before they should be delivered into the hands of 
those who had the charge to provide for their funerals and 
burials. Periander did more miraculously : who extended 
his conjugall affection (more regular and lawfull) unto 
the enjoying of Melissa his deceased wife. Seemes it not 
to be a lunatique humor in the Moone, being otherwise 
unable to enjoy Endimion hir favorite darling, to lull him 
in a sweete slumber for many moneths together ; and feed 
hirselfe with the jovissance of a boye, that stirred not but 
in a dreame? I say likewise, that a man loveth a body 
without a soule, when he loveth a body without his con- 
sent and desire. All enjoyings are not alike. There are 
some hecticke, faint and languishing ones. A thousand 
causes, besides affection and good will, may obtaine us this 
graunt of women. It is no sufficient testimony of true 

112 Montaigne's Essayes 

affection : therein may lurke treason, at else-where : they 
sometime goe but faintly to worke, and as they say with 
one buttocke ; 

Tanquam thura nieruinque parent; 

Ibid. xi. Epi. civ. 12. 
As though they did dispense, 
Pure Wine and Frankincense. 

Absentem tnarmoredmve putes. — Ibid. Epig. Ixi. 8. 

Of Marble you would thinke she were, 
Or that she were not present there. 

I knowe some, that would rather lend that, then their 
coach ; and who empart not themselves, but that way : 
you must also marke whether your company pleaseth them 
for some other respect, or for that end onely, as of a 
lustie-strong grome of a Stable : as also in what rank, 
and at what rate you are there lodged or valued ; 

— tibi si datur uni 
Quo lapide ilia diem candidiore notct. 

Catul. Eleg. iv. 147. 
If it afforded be to thee alone, 
Whereby she counts that day of all dayes one. 

What if she eate your bread, with the sauce of a more 
pleasing imagination? 

Te tenct^ abseutes alios suspirat amores. 

TiBUL. iv. El. V. II. 

Thee she retaines, yet sigheth she 
For other loves that absent be. 

What? have we not scene some in our dayes, to have made 
use of this action, for the execution of a most horrible 
revenge, by that meanes murthering and empoysoning (as 
one did) a very honest woman? such as know Italie will 
never wonder, if for this subject, I seeke for no examples 
else-where. For the said nation may in that point be 
termed Regent of the world. They have commonly more 
faire women, and fewer foule then we ; but in rare and 
excellent beauties I thinke we match them. The like I 
judge of their wits ; of the vulgar sort they have evidently 
many more. Blockishnes is without all comparison more 
rare amongst them : but for singular wits, and of the 
highest pitch, we are no whit behinde them. Were I to 
extend this comparison, I might (me thinkes) say, touch- 

The Third Booke Chap. V 113 

ing valor, that on the other-side, it is in regard of them 
popular and naturall amongst us : but in their hands one 
may sometimes finde it so compleate and vigorous, that it 
exceedeth all the most forcible examples we have of it. 
The mariages of that countrie are in this somewhat de- 
fective. Their custome doth generally impose so severe 
observances, and slavish lawes upon wives, that the remot- 
est acquaintance with a stranger, is amongst them as 
capitall as the nearest. Which law causeth, that all 
aproaches prove necessarily substanciall : and seeing all 
commeth to one reckoning with them, they have an easie 
choise : and have they broken downe their hedges? Be- 
leeve it, they will have fire : Luxuria ipsis vinciiliSj sicut 
fera bestiay irritata, deinde emissa: Liixiirie is like a wild 
beast, first made fiercer with tying, and then let loose. 
IThey must have the reynes given them a little. 

Vidi ego nuper equum contra sua frena tenacem 
(J Ore reluctanti fuUninis ire modo. 

Ovid. Am. iii. El. iv. 13. 
I saw, spite of his bit, a resty colt, 
Runne head-strong headlong like a thunder-bolt. 

They allay the desire of company, by giving it some liberty. 
It is a commendable custome with our nation, that our 
children are entertained in noble houses there, as in a 
schoole of nobility to be trained and brought up as Pages. 
And 'tis said to be a kinde of discourtesie, to refuse it a 
gentleman. I have observed (for, so many houses so 
inany severall formes and orders) that such Ladies as have 
gone about to give their waiting women, the most austere 
rules, have not had the best successe. There is required 
more then ordinary moderation : a great part of their 
government must bee left to the conduct of their discre- 
tion : For, when all comes to all no discipline can bridle 
tthem in each point. True it is, that she who escapeth and unpolluted from out the schoole of fredome, giveth 
more confidence of hirselfe, then she who commeth sound 
out of the schoole of severity and restraint. Our fore- 
fathers framed their daughters countenances unto shame- 
fastnesse and feare, (their inclinations and desires alwaies 
1 alike) we unto assurance. We understand not the matter. 
That belongeth to the Sarmatian wenches, who by their 
lawes may lie with no man, except with their owne hands 

114 Montaigne's Essayes 

they have before killed another man in warre. To me 
that have no right but by the eares, it sufficeth, if they 
retaine me to be of their counsell, following- the priviledge 
of mine age : I then advise both them and us to embrace 
abstinence, but if this season bee too much against it, at 
least modestie and discretion. For, as Aristippus (speak- 
ing to some young men who blushed to see him go into a 
bawdy house) said, the fault was not in entring^ hut in not 
comming out again, She that will not exempt hir con- 
science, let hir exempt hir name : though the substance 
bee not of worth, yet let the apparance hould still good. 
I love gradation and prolonging, in the distribution of 
their favours. Plato sheweth, that in all kinds of love, 
facility and readinesse is forbidden to defendants. T'is 
a trick of greedinesse, which it behoveth them to cloakc 
with their arte, so rashly and fond-hardily to yeeld them- 
selves in grosse. In their distributions of favours, holding 
a regular and moderate course, they much better deceive 
our desires, and conceale theirs. Let them ever be flying 
before us : I meane even those that intend to bee over- 
taken. As the wScithians are wont, though they seeme to 
runne away, they beate us more, and sooner put us to 
route. Verily according to the lawe which nature giveth 
them, it is not fit for them to will and desire : their part is 
to beare, to obay and to consent. Therefore hath nature 
bestowed a perpetuall capacity; on us a seld and uncer- 
taine ability. They have alwayes their houre, that they 
may ever be ready to let us enter. And whereas she hath 
willed our appetites should make apparant shew and de- 
claration, she caused theirs to bee concealed and inward : 
and hath furnished them with parts unfit for ostentation ; 
and onely for defence. Such prankes as this, we must 
leave to the Amazonian liberty. Alexander the great 
marching through Hircania, Tlialestris Queen of the 
Amazones came to meet him with thre hundred ladies of 
her sex, all well mounted and compleately armed ; having 
left the residue of a great armie, that followed hir, beyond 
the neighbouring mountaines. And thus aloud, that all 
might heare she bespake him ; That the farre-resounding 
fame of his victories, and matchles valour, had brought hir 
thither to see him, and to offer him hir meanes and forces, 
for the advancing and furthering of his enterprises. And 

The Third Booke Chap. V 115 

Findingf him so faire, so young- and strong-, she, who was 
perfectly accomplished in all his qualities, advised him to 
lye with hir that so there might be borne of the most 
valiant woman in the world, and only valiant man then 
living, some great and rare creature for posterity. Alex- 
ander thanked hir for the rest, but to take leasure for hir 
last demands accomplishment, he staide thirteene dales in 
that place, during- which, he revelled with as much glee, 
and feasted with as great jollity as possibly could be de- 
vised, in honour and favour of so couragious a Princess. 
Wee are well-nigh in all things parciall and corrupted 
Judges of their action, as no doubt they are of ours. I 
allow of truth as well when it hurts me, as when it helps 
me. It is a foule disorder, that so often urgeth them unto 
change, and hinders them from setling their affection on 
any one subject : as wee see in this Goddesse, to whom 
they impute so many changes and several! friends. But 
withall it is against the nature of love, not to he violent^ 
and against the condition of violence, to be constant. 
And those who wonder at it, exclaime against it, and in 
women search for the causes of this infirmity, as incredible 
and unnaturall : why see they not how often, without any 
amazement and exclaiming, themselves are possessed and 
infected with it? [It] might happily seeme more strange 
to find any constant stay in them. It is not a passion 
meerely corporeall. // no end be found in coveteousnesse, 
mor limit in ambition, assure your selfe there is nor end 
nor limit in letchery. It yet continueth after saciety : nor 
can any man prescribe it or end or constant satisfaction : 
it ever goeth on beyond it's possession, beyond it's bounds. 
And if constancy be peradventure in some sort more 
pardonable in them then in us : They may readily alleage 
against us, our ready inclination unto daily variety and 
new ware : And secondly alleage without us, that they 
buy a pigge in a poake. Jo7ie Queen of Naples caused 
Andreosse her first husband to be strangled and hang'd 
out of the barres of his window, with a corde of Silke and 
golde woven with her owne hands ; because in bed busi- 
jinesse she found neither his members nor endevours an- 
swerable the hope shee had conceived of him, by viewing 
I his stature, beauty, youth, and disposition, by which she 
had formerly beene surprised and abused. That action 

ii6 Montaigne's Essayes 

hath in it more violence then passion : so that on their part 
at least necessity is ever provided for : on our behalfe it 
may happen otherwise. Therefore Plato by his lawes did 
very wisely establish, that before marriages the better to 
decide it's opportunity, competent Judges might be ap- 
pointed to take view of yong men which pretended the 
same, all naked : and of maidens but to the waste : in 
making triall of us, they happily find us not worthy their 
choise : 

Expcrta latus, inadidoqu£ simillima loro 

Iiii^tiina, nee lassa stare coacta inauu 

Deserit imbelles thalamos. — Marti, vii. Epig. Ivii. 3. 

It is not sufficient, that will keepe a lively course : weake- 
nesse and incapacity may lawfully breake wedlock ; 

Et qucrrendum aliunde foret nervosius illud 
Quod posset Zonam solvere virgineam. 

Catul. Eleg. iii. 27. 

Why not, and according to measure, an amorous intelli- 
gence, more licentious and more active? 

Si blando nequeat super esse lahori. 

ViRG. Georg. iii. 127. 

If it cannot out last, labor with pleasure past. 

But is it not great impudency, to bring our imperfections 
and weaknesse, in place where we desire to please, and 
leave a good report and commendation behind us? for the 
little I now stand in need of, 

— ad unum 
Mollis opus. 
Unable to hold out, one onely busie bout. 

I would not importune any one, whom I am to reverence 
[and f eare] . 

— fuge suspicari, 
Cujtis uiidenum trepidavit cvtas 

Claudere lustrum. — HoR. Car. ii. Od. iv. 22. 

Him of suspition cleare, 

Whom age hath brought well neare 

To five and fifty yeare. 

Nature should have beene pleased to have made this age 
miserable, without making it also ridiculous. I hate to 
see one for an inch of wretched vigor, which enfiames him 

The Third Booke Chap. V 117 

but thrice a week, take-on and swagger as fiercely, as if 
he hath some great and lawfull dayes-worke in his belly : 
a right blast or puffe of winde : And admire his itching, 
so quick and nimble, all in a moment to be lubberly squat 
and benummed. This appetite should only belong to the 
blossom of a prime youth. Trust not unto it, thogh you 
see it second that indefatigable, fulL constant and swelling 
heate, that is in you : for truly it will leave you at the best, 
and when you shall most stand in neede of it. .Send it 
rather to some tender, irresolute and ignorant girle, which 
yet trembleth for feare of the rod, and that will blush 
at it, 

Indum sanguineo veluii violavcrit ostro, 

Si quis ebiir, vel mista rubent ubi lilia, mitlta 

Alba rosa. — ViRG. /En. xii. 67. 

As if the Indian Yvory one should taint, 
With bloody Scarlet-graine, or Lillies paint, 
White entermixt with red with Roses enter-spred. 

Who can stay untill the next morrow, and not die for 
shame, the disdaine of those love sparkling eyes, privie to 
his faintnesse, dastardise and impertinencie ; 

Et taciti fecere tamen convitia vultus. 

Ovid. Am. i. El. vii. 21. 
The face though silent, yet silent upbraydes-it ; 

he never felt the sweet contentment, and the sense-mooving 
earnestnes, to have beaten and tarnished them by the 
vigorous exercise of an officious and active night. When 
I have perceived any of them weary of me, I have not pre- 
sently accused her lightnes : but made question whether 
I had not more reason to quarrell with nature, for handhng 
me so unlawfully and uncivilly, 

Si non longa satis, si non bene mentula crassa: 
Nimirutn sapiunt videntque parvam 
Matronce quoque mentulam illibenter, 

Lus. Pkiap. penul. i ; ibid. viii. 4. 

and to my exceeding hurt. Each of my pieces are equally 
mine, one as another : and no other doth more properly 
make me a man then this. My whole pourtraiture I uni- 
versally owe unto the world. The wisedome and reach of 
my lesson, is all in truth, In liberty, in essence : Disdain- 
ing in the catalogue of my true duties, these easie, faint, 

ii8 Montaigne's Essayes 

ordinary and provincial rules. All naturall ; constant and 
generall; whereof civilitie and ceremonie, are daughters, 
but bastards. We shall easily have the vices of apparance, 
when we shall have had those of essence. When we have 
done with these, we run upon others, if we finde need of 
running-. For there is dang-er, that we devise new offices, 
to excuse our negligence toward naturall offices, and 
to confound them. That it is so, we see that in places 
where faults are bewitchings, bewitching-s are but faults. 
That among: nations, where lawes of seemelinesse are 
more rare and slacke, the primitive lawes of common reason 
are better observed : The innumerable multitude of so 
manifold duties, stifling-, languishing and dispersing our 
care. The applying- of our selves unto sleight matters, 
with-draweth us from such as be just. Oh how easie and 
plausible a course do these superficiall men undertake, in 
respect of ours. These are but shadowes under which we 
shroud, and wherwith we pay one another. But we pay 
not, but rather heape debt on debt, unto that great and 
dreadfull judge, who tucks up our clouts and rag-s from 
about our privie parts, and is not squeamish to viev/ all 
over, even to our most inward and secret deformities : 
a beneficiall decencie of our maidenly bashfulnesse, could 
it debar him of this tainted discover}^ To conclude, 
he that could recover or un-besot man, from so scrupulous 
and verball a superstition, should not much prejudice 
the world. Our life consisteth partly in folly, and partly in 
wisedome. Hee that writes of it but reverently and 
regularly, omits the better moitie of it. I excuse me not 
unto my selfe, and if I did, I would rather excuse my 
excuses, then any fault else of mine : I excuse my selfe 
of certaine humors, which in number I hold strong-er, then 
those which are on my side : In consideration of which I 
will say thus much more (for I desire to please all men; 
though it be a hard matter. Esse unum hominem accommo- 
datum ad tantam morum, ac sermonum et voluntatum 
varietatem, That one man should he apply able to so great 
'variety of manners, speeches and dispositions) that they 
are not to blame me, for what I cause auctorities received 
and approved of many ages, to utter : and that it is not 
reason, they should for want of ryme deny me the dispensa- 
tion, which ever some of cur churchmen usurpe and enjoy 

The Third Booke Chap. V 119 

in this season ; whereof behold here two, and of the most 
pert and cocket amongst them : 

Rimtila dispeream, ni monogramma tiia est. 
Un vit d'amy la contenie et bien traictc. 

How many others more ? I love modestie ; nor is it from 
judgement that I have made choise of this kinde of scan- 
dalous speech; t'is nature hath chosen the same for me: 
I commend it no more, then all formes contrary unto 
received custome : onely I excuse it ; and by circumstances 
as well generall as particular, would qualifie the imputa- 
tion. Well, let us proceed. Whence commeth also the 
usurpation of soveraigne auctority, which you assume unto 
your selves, over those that favour you to their cost and 

Si furtiva dedit nigra miinusctila node. 

Catul. El. iv. 145. 

If she have giv'n by night, The stolne gift of delight, 
that you should immediatly invest withall the interest, the 
coldnes, and a wedlock authority? It is a free bargaine, 
why do you not undertake it on those termes you would 
have them to keepe? There is no prescription upon volun- 
tarie things. It is against forme, yet it is true, that I have 
in my time managed this match (so farre as the nature of 
it would allow) with as much conscience as any other what- 
soever, and not without some colour of justice : and have 
given them no further testimony of mine affection, then I 
sincerely felt : and have lively displaide unto them the 
declination, vigor and birth of the same; with the fits and 
deferring of it : A man cannot ahvayes keepe an even pace^ 
nor ever go to it alike. I have bin so sparing to promise, 
that (as I thinke) I have paid more then either I promised 
or was due. They have found mee faithfull, even to the 
service of their inconstancy : I say an inconstancy avowed, 
and sometimes multiplied. I never broke with them, as 
Jong as I had any hold, were it but by a threds-end : and 
whatsoever occasion they have given me by their ficklenes, 
I never fell off unto contempt and hatred : for such 
familiarities, though I attaine them on most shamefull con- 
ditions, yet do they bind me unto some constant god-will. 
I have sometime given them a taste of choller and indiscret 
impatience, upon occasions of their wiles, sleights, close- 
convayances, controversies and contestations betweene us : 

I20 Montaigne's Essayes 

for, by complexion, I am subject to hastie and rash motions, 
which often empeach my traffick, and marre my bargaines, 
though but meane and of small worth. Have they desired 
to essay the liberty of my judgement, I never dissembled 
to give them fatherly counsell and biting advise, and 
shewed my selfe ready to scrach them where they itched. 
If I have given them cause to complaine of me, it hath bin 
most for finding a love in me, in respect of our moderne 
fashion, foolishly conscientious. I have religiously kept 
my word, in things, that I might easily have bin dispensed 
with. They then yeelded sometimes with reputation, and 
under conditions, which they would easily suffer to bee 
infringed by the conqueror. I have more then once, made 
pleasure in hir greatest efforts strike saile unto the interest 
of their honor : and where reason urged me, armed them 
against me, so that they guided themselves more safely 
and severely by my prescriptions, if they once freely yeelded 
unto them, then they could have done by their owne. I 
have as much as I could endevored to take on my selfe the 
charge and hazard of our appointments, therby to dis- 
charge them from all imputation ; and ever contrived our 
meetings in most hard, strange and unsuspected manner, 
to be the lesse mistrusted, and (in my seeming) the more 
accessible. They are opened, especially in those parts, 
where they suppose themselves most concealed. Things 
lest feared are lest defended and observed. You may 
more securely dare, what no man thinks you would dare, 
which by difficulty becometh easie. Never had man his 
approches more impertinently genitale. This way to love, 
is more according to discipline. But how ridiculous unto 
our people, and of how small effect, who better knowes then 
I ? yet will I not repent me of it ; I have no more to lose by 
the matter. 

— mc tabula saccr 
Votiva paries, indicat uvida, 
Suspcndisse potenti 
Vestimenta maris Deo. — Hor. Car. i. Od. v. 13. 

By tables of the vowes which I did owe 
Fastned thereto the sacred wall doth showe ; 
I have hung-up my garments water-wet, 
Unto that God whose power on seas is great. 

It is now high time to speake plainely of it. But even as 
to another, I would perhaps say ; My friend thou dotest, the 
love of thy times hath small affinity with faith and honesty ; 

The Third Booke Chap. V 121 

— hcec si til postules 
Ratione certa facere, nihilo plus agas, 
Qudm si des operant, ut cum ratione insanias. 

Ter. Eunuc. act. i. sc. i. 
If this you would by reason certaine make, 
You do no more, then if the paines you take, 
To be Starke mad, and yet, to thinke it reason fit. 

And yet if I were to beginne anew, it should bee by the 
very same path and progresse, how fruitlesse soever it 
might proove unto me. Insufficiency and sottishnesse are 
conimendahle in a discommendable action. As much as I 
separate my selfe from their humour in that, so much I 
approach unto mine owne. Moreover, I did never suffer 
my selfe to bee wholly given over to that sport ; I therewith 
pleased, but forgot not my selfe. I ever kept that little 
understanding and discretion, which nature hath bestowed 
on me, for their service and mine ; some motion towards it, 
but no dotage. My conscience also was engaged therein, 
even unto incontinency and excesse, but never unto ingrati- 
tude, treason, malice or cruelty. I bought not the pleasure 
of this vice at all rates ; and was content with it's owne and 
simple cost. Nullum intra se vitium est (Sen. Epi. xcv.), 
There is no vice contained in it selfe. I hate almost alike 
a crouching and dull lasinesse, and a toilesome and thorny 
working. The one pincheth, the other dulleth mee. I love 
wounds as much as bruses, and blood wipes as well as dry- 
blowes. I had in the practise of this solace, when I was 
fitter for it, an even moderation betweene these two extremi- 
ties. Love is a vigilant^ lively and blithe agitation : I was 
neither troubled nor tormented with it, But heated and dis- 
tempred by it: There wee must make a stay; It is only 
hurtfull unto fooles. A young man demanded of the Philo- 
sopher Panetius, whether it would beseeme a wise man to 
be in love ; Let wisemen alone (quoth he) hut for thee and 
rme that are not 50, it were best not to engage our selves 
into so stirring and violent a humour, which makes us 
slaves to others and contemptible unto our selves. He 
said true, for we ought not entrust a matter so danger- 
ous, unto a minde that hath not wherewith to sustaine the 
approaches of it, nor effectually to quaile the speach of Age- 
silaus ; That wisedotne and love cannot live together: It is 
a vaine occupation (t'is true) unseemely, shamefull and law- 
lesse : But using it in this manner, I esteeme it wholsome 
and fit to rouze a dull spirit and a heavy body : and as a 
III 442 E 

122 Montaigne's Essayes 

physitian experienced, I would prescribe the same unto 
man of my complexion and forme, as soone as any other 
receipt, to keepe him awake and in strength, when he is 
well in yeares ; and delay him from the g-ripings of old age. 
As long as we are but in the suburbes of it, and that oui 
pulse yet beateth, 

Dum nova canities, duni prima et recta senectns, 
Dum superest Lachesi quod torqueat, et pedibus me 
Porto meis, nullo dextram suhcunte hacillo. 

JuvEN. Sat. iii. 26. 

While hoarie haires are new, and ould-age fresh and straight, 
While Lachesis hath yet to spin, while I my waight 
Beare on my feete, and stand, without stafie in my hand. 

We had need to bee sollicited and tickled, by some biting 
agitation, as this is. See but what youth, vigour anc 
jollity it restored unto wise Anacfeon. And Socrates, wher 
hee was elder then I am, speaking of an amorous object : 
leaning (saies hee) shoulder to shoulder, and approaching 
my head unto his, as [we] were both together looking upor 
a booke, I felt, in truth, a sudden tingling or prickling in 
my shoulder, like the biting of some beast, which more 
then five dales after tickled mee, whereby a continuall itch- 
ing glided into my heart. But a casuall touch, and thai 
but in a shoulder, to enflame, to distemper and to distract 
a minde, enfeebled, tamed and cooled through age; and oi 
all humane mindes the most reformed. And why not 
pray you? Socrates was but a man, and would neither be 
nor seeme to bee other. Philosophic contends not against 
naturall delights, so that due measure bee joyned there- 
with; and alloweth the moderation, not the shunning oi 
them. The efforts of her resistance are employed against 
strange and bastard or lawlesse ones. She saith, that the 
bodies appetites ought not to be encreased by the minde. 
And wittily adviseth us, that we should not excite our 
hunger by saciety ; not to stuffe, insteed of filling our 
bellies : to avoide all jovissance that may bring us to want : 
and shunne all meat and drink, which may make us hungry 
or thirstie. As in the service of love, shee appoints us tc 
take an object, that onely may satisfie the bodies neede, 
without once moving the mind : which is not there to have 
any doing, but only to follow and simply to assist the body. 
But have I not reason to thinke, that these precepts, 

The Third Booke Chap. V 123 

'which in mine opinion are elsewhere somewhat rigorous) 
nave reference unto a body which doth his office ; and that 
a dejected one, as a w^eakned stomack may be excused if 
tie cherish and sustaine the same by arte, and by the enter- 
30ursc of fantazie, to restore it the desires, the delights 
and blithnesse, which of it selfe it hath lost? May we not 
say, that there is nothing- in us, during this earthly prison, 
simply corporall, or purely spirituall? and that injuriously 
ive dismember a living man? that there is reason we should 
carrie our selves in the use of pleasure, at least as favour- 
ably as we do in the pangs of griefe? For example, it was 
vehement, even unto perfection, in the soules of Saintes, 
by repentance. The body had naturally a part therein, by 
the right of their combination, and yet might have but little 
share in the cause : and were not contented that it should 
simply follow and assist the afflicted soule : they have tor- 
mented the body it selfe with convenient and sharpe punish- 
ments ; to the end that one with the other, the body and 
the soule might a vie plunge man into sorrow so much 
the more saving, by how much the more smarting, 
lln like case, in corporal pleasures, is it not injustice 
ito quaile and coole the minde, and say, it must there- 
unto be entrained, as unto a forced bond, or servile 
[necessity? She should rather hatch and cherish them, 
and offer and invite it selfe unto them ; the charge of 
swaying rightly belonging to her. Even as in my con- 
ceit, it is her part, in her proper delights, to inspire and 
infuse into the body all sense or feeling which his condition 
may beare, and indevour that they may be both sw^eet and 
healthy for him. For, as they say, tis good reason, that 
the body follow not his appetites to the mindes prejudice or 
idammage. But why is it not likewise reason, that the 
iminde should not follow hers to the bodies danger and 
ihurt? I have no other passion that keeps mee in breath. 
What avarice, ambition, quarels, sutes in law, or other con- 
tentions worke and effect in others who as my selfe have 
mo assigned vacation, or certaine leisure, love would per- 
forme more commodiously : It would restore me the 
vigilancy, sobriety, grace and care of my person; and 
assure my countenance against the wrinckled frowns of 
age (those deformed and wretched frownes) which else 
would blemish and deface the same ; It would reduce me to 

124 Montaigne's Essayes 

serious, to sound and wise studies, whereby I might procure' 
more love, and purchase more estimation : It would purge 
my minde from despaire of it selfe, and of its use, acquaint- 
ing the same againe with it selfe : It would divert me 
from thousands of irksome tedious thoughts, and melan- 
choly carking cares, wherewith the doting idlenesse and 
crazed condition of our age doth charge and comber us : It 
would restore and heat, though but in a dreame, the blood 
which nature forsaketh : It would uphold the drooping 
chinne, and somewhat strengthen or lengthen the shrunken 
sinewes, decaied vigour, and dulled lives-blithenesse of silly 
wretched man, who gallops apace to his ruine. But I am 
not ignorant how hard a matter it is to attaine to such a 
commodity : Through weaknesse and long experience, our 
taste is growne more tender, more choise and more ex- 
quisite. We challenge most, when we bring least ; we are 
most desirous to choose, when we least deserve to be 
accepted : And knowing our selves to bee such, we are lesse 
hardy and more distrustfull : Nothing can assure us to be 
beloved, seeing our condition and their quality. I am 
ashamed to be in the companie of this greene, blooming 
and boyling youth ; 

Cujus in indomito constantior inguine nervus, 
Qudm nova collihus arbor inhceret : 

HoR. Epod. xii. 19. 

Why should we present our wretchednesse amid this their 
jollity ? 

Possint ut juvenes visere fervidi 

Multo non sine risii, 

Dilapsam in cineres facem, 

HoR. Car. iv. Od. xiii. 26. 

That hot young men may go and see, 
Not without sport and mery glee, 
Their fire-brands turn'd to ashes be. 

They have both strength and reason on their side : let us 
give them place : we have no longer holde fast. This 
bloome of budding beauty, loves not to be handled by 
such nummed, and so clomsie hands, nor would it be dealt- 
with by meanes purely material! or ordinary stuffe. For, 
as that ancient Philosopher answered one that mocked him, 
because hee could not obtaine the favour of a yongling, 
whom he suingly pursued : My friend (quoth he) the hooke 

The Third Booke Chap. V 125 

bites not at such fresh cheese. It is a commerce needing- 
relation and mutuall correspondency : other pleasures that 
we receive, may be requitted by recompences of different 
nature : but this cannot be repaid but with the very same 
kinde of coyne. Verily, the pleasure I do others in this 
sport, doth more sweetly tickle my imagination, then that 
is done unto me. Now if no generous minde, can receive 
pleasure where he returneth none ; it is a base minde that 
would have all duty and delights to feed with conference, 
those under whose charge he remaineth. There is no 
beauty, nor favour, nor familiarity so exquisite, which a 
gallant minde should desire at this rate. Now if women 
can do us no good but in pittie, I had much rather not to 
live at all, then to live by almes. I would I had the privi- 
ledge to demande of them, in the same stile I have heard 
some beg in Italy: Fate bene per voi, Do some good for 
your selfe: or after the manner that Cyrus exhorted his 
souldiers ; Whosoever loveth mee, let him follow mee. 
Consort your selfe, will some say to me, with those of your 
owne condition, whom the company of like fortune will 
yeeld of more easie accesse. Oh sottish and wallowish 
composition ; 

— nolo 
Barhatn vellere mortuo leoni. — Mar. x. Epig. xc. 9. 

I will not pull (though not a fearde) 
When he is dead a Lions beard. 

Xenophon useth for an objection and accusation against 
Menon, that in his love he dealt with fading objects. I 
take more sensuall pleasure by onely viewing the mutuall, 
even proporcioned and delicate commixture of two yong 
(beauties; or onely to consider the same in mine imagina- 
tion, then if my selfe should be second in a lumpish, sad 
rand disproporcioned conjunction. I resigne such distasted 
rand fantasticall appetites unto the Emperour Galba, who 
: medled with none but cast, worne, hard-old flesh ; And to 
^that poore slave, 

O ego dii faciant talem te cernere possim, 
Chardque mutatis oscula ferre comis, 
Amplcctique meis corpus non pingiie laccrtls. 

Ovid. Pont. i. El. v. 49. 
Gods graunt I may beholde thee in such case, 
And kisse thy chang'd locks with my dearest grace, 
And with mine armes thy limmes not fat embrace. 

126 Montaigne's Essayes i 

And amongst blemishing-deformities, I deeme artificiall and 
forced beautie to bee of the chiefest. Emanez a young lad 
of Chios y supposing by gorgeous attires to purchase the 
beauty, which nature denied him, came to the Philosopher 
Arcesilaus, and asked of him, whether a wise man could^ 
be in love, or no? Yes marrie (quoth he) so it were not. 
with a painted and sophisticate heaiity, as thine is. The 
fowlenesse of an old knowne woman is in my seeming, not 
so aged nor so ill-favoured, as one that's painted and; 
sleeked. Shall I bouldly speake it, and not have my throate; 
cut for my labour? Love is not properly nor naturally irii 
season, hut in the age next unto infancy : 

Qiiain si puellarum insereres choto, 

Mille sagaces falleret hospites, 

Discrimen ohscurum solutis 

Crinihus, ambigiioque vultu. — HOR. Car. ii, Od. v. 12. 

Whom if you should in crue of wenches place, 
With haire loose-hanging, and ambiguous face, 
Strangely the undiscern'd distinction might 
Deceive a thousand strangers of sharpe siglit. 

No more is perfect beauty. For, whereas Homer extends 
it untill such time as the chinne begins to bud. Plato him- 
selfe hath noted the same for very rare. And the cause 
for which the Sophister Dion termed youthes budding 
hayres ; Aristogitons and Harmodii, is notoriously knovv^ne. 
In man-hoode I finde it already to bee somewhat out of 
date, much more in old age. 

Importunus enim transvolat atidas 
Quercus. — Ihid. iv. Od. xiii. 9. 

Importune love doth over flie. 

The Okes with withered old-age drie. 

And Margaret Queen of Navarre, lengthens much (like a 
woman) the priviledge of women : Ordaining thirty yeares 
to he the season, for them to change the title of faire into 
good. The shorter possession we allow it over our lives, 
the better for us. Behold it's behaviour. It is a prin-cock 
boy, who in his schoole, knows not, how far one proceeds 
against all order : study, exercise ,custome and practise, are 
paths to insufficiency : the novices beare all the sway ; 
Amor ordinem nescit, Love knowes or keepes no order. 
Surely it's course hath more garbe, when it is commixt 
with unadvisednes and trouble : faults and contrary sUc- 

The Third Booke Chap. V 127 

cc sscs, give it edge and grace : so it be eager and hungry, 
it little importeth whether it bee prudent. Observe but how 
he staggers, stumbleth and fooleth ; you fetter and shackle 
him, when you guide him by arte and discretion : and you 

' force his sacred liberty, when you submit him to those 
bearded, grim and tough-hard hands. Moreover, I often 
heare them display this intelligence as absolutely spiritual, 
disdaining to draw into consideration the interest which all 
the sences have in the same. All serveth to the purpose : 
But I may say, that I have often seen some of us excuse 
the weaknesse of their minds, in favour of their corporall 
beauties ; but I never saw them yet, that in behalfe of the 
mindes-beauties, how sound and ripe soever they were, 
would afford an helping hand unto a body, that never so 
little falleth into declination. Why doth not some one of 
them long to produce that noble Socraticall brood ; or 
breed that precious gem, between the body and the mind, 
purchasing with the price of her thighes a Philosophical! 
and spirituall breed and intelligence? which is the highest 
rate she can possibly value them at. Plato appointeth in 
his laws, that he who performeth a notable and worthy 
exploite in warre, during the time of that expedition, should 
not be denied a kisse or refused any other amorous favour, 
of whomsoever he shall please to desire it, without respect 

.either of his ill-favourdnes, deformity, or age. What he 
deemeth so just and allowable in commendation of Military 
valour, may not the same be thought as lawfull in com- 
mendation of some other worth? and why is not some one 
of them possessed with the humor to preoccupate on hir 
companions the glory of this chaste love? chaste I may 
well say ; 

— nam si quando ad prcrlia venium est, 

lit quondam stiptilis magnus sine viribus ignis 

In cassum furit. — ViRG. Georg. iii. gS. 

If once it ccme to handy-gripes ; as great, 

But force-Iesse fire in stubble : so his heate 

Rageth amaine, but all in vaine. 

Vices smoothered in ones thought, are not the woorst. 
To conclude this notable commentarie, escaped from me bv 
a fiux of babling : a flux sometimes as violent as hurtfull. 


Ut missum sponsi furtivo m.unere malum, 

Pvocurrit casta virginis e gremio : 

Quod miserce oblitce molli sub veste locatum, 

128 Montaigne's Essayes 

Dum adventu matris prosilit, excutiiur, 

Atqne illud prono pra'ceps agitur deciirsu, 

Huic matiat tristi conscius ore rubor. — Catul. El. i. 19. 

As when some fruit by stealth sent from hit friend, 
From chaste lap of a virgin doth descend, 
Which by hir, under her soft aprone plast, 
Starting at mothers comming thence is cast : 
And trilling downe in hast doth head-long go, 
A guilty blush in hir sad face doth flo. 

I say, that both male and female, are cast in one same 
moulde ; instruction and custome excepted, there is no 
great difference betweene them : Plato calleth them both i 
indifferently to the society of all studies, exercises, charges 
and functions of warre and peace, in his Commonwealth. 
And the Philosopher Antisthenes took away al distinction 
betweene their vertue and ours. It is much more easie to | 
accuse the one sexe, then to excuse the other. It is that 
which some say proverbially, III may the Kill call the Oven 
burnt taile. 




It is easie to verifie, that excellent authors, writing of 
causes do not only make use of those which they imagine 
true, but eftsoones of such as themselves beleeve not : 
alwayes provided they have some invention and beautie. 
They speake sufficiently, truly and profitably, if they speake 
ingeniously. We cannot assure our selves of the chiefe 
cause : we hudle up a many together, to see whether by 
chance it shall be found in that number, 

Namque tinam dicer e causam, 
Non satis est, verum plures unde una tamen sit. 

LucR. vi. 700. 

Enough it is not one cause to devise, 

But more, whereof that one roay yet arise. 

Will you demand of me, whence this custome ariseth, 
to blesse an say God helpe to those that sneese? We__pro:^ 
duce three sor^tes of winde ; that issuing from belowe is too 
undecent; that from the mouth, implieth some reproach 
of gourmandise ; the third is.. snee4)ig: and because it 

The Third Booke Chap. VI 129 

commeth from the head, and is without imputation, we 
thus kindly entertaine it : Smile not at this subtilty, it is 
(as some say) Aristotles. Me seemeth to have read in 
Plutarch (who of all the authors I know, hath best commixt 
arte with nature, and coupled judgfement with learning) 
where he yeeldeth a reason, why those which travell by sea, , 
;do sometimes feele such qualmes and risings of the 
stomack, saying, that it proceedeth of a kinde of feare : 
having found-out some reason, by which he prooveth, that 
feare may cause such an effect. My selfe who am much 
subject unto it, know well, that this cause doth nothing 
concerne me. And I know it, not by argument, but by 
necessary experience, without alleaging what some have 
tolde me, that the like doth often happen unto beasts, 
namely unto swine, when they are farthest from apprehend- 
ing any danger : and what an acquaintance of mine hath 
lassured me of himselfe, and who is greatly subject unto it, 
that twice or thrice in a tempestuous storme, being sur- 
prised with exceeding feare, all manner of desire or inclina- 
tion to vomit had left him. As to that ancient good fellow ; 
Pejus vexabar quam ut periculum mihi succurreret. I was 
worse vexed then that danger could helpe me. I never 
apprehended feare upon the water ; nor any where else (yet 
have I often had just cause offred me, if death it selfe may 
give it) which either might trouble or astony me. It pro- 
ceedeth sometimes as well from want of judgement, as from 
lacke of courage. All the dangers I have had, have beene 
when mine eyes were wide-open, and my sight cleare, sound 
and perfect : For, even to feare, courage is required. It 
hath sometimes steaded me, in respect of others, to direct 
and keepe my flight in order, that so it might be, if not 
without feare, at least without dismay and astonishment. 
Indeed it was moved, but not amazed nor distracted. Un- 
idanted mindes march further, and represent flight, not 
onely temperate, setled and sound, but also fierce and bold. 
Report we that which Alcibiades relateth of Socrates his 
companion in armes. I found (saith he) after the route and 
i discomfiture of our armie, both him and Lachez in the last 
ranke of those that ranne away, and with all safety and 
Measure considered him, for I was mounted upon an excel- 
lent good horse, and he on foote, and so had we combated 
all day. I noted first, how in respect of Lachez : he shewed 

130 Montaigne's Essayes 

both discreet judg-ement and undanted resolution : then I 
observed the undismaide bravery of his march, nothing 
different from his ordinary pace : his looke orderly and con- 
stant, duly observing and heedily judging v^^hat ever passed 
round about him : sometimes vievv^ing- the one, and some- 
times looking on the other both friends and enemies, with 
so composed a manner, that he seemed to encourage the 
one and menace the other, signifying, that whosoever 
should attempt his Hfe, must purchase the same, or his 
blood at a high-valued rate? and thus they both saved 
themselves ; for, men do not willingly graple with these ; 
but follow such as shew or feare or dismay. Lo here the 
testimony of that renovv^ned Captaine, who teacheth us what 
wee daily finde by experience, that there is nothing doth 
sooner cast us into dangers, then an inconsiderate greedi- 
nesse to avoide them. Quo timoris minus est, eo minus] 
ferme periculi est. The lesse feare there is most commonly ^ 
the lesse danger there is. Our people is to blame, to say, 
such a one feareth death, when it would signifie, that he 
thinkes on it, and doth foresee the same. Foresight doth 
equally belong as well to that which concerneth us in good 
as touch us in evill. To consider and judge danger, is in 
some sort, not to bee danted at it. I doe not finde my seli'e 
sufficiently strong to withstand the blow and violence of 
this passion of feare, or of any other impetuosity, were I 
once therewith vanquished and deterred, I could never 
safely recover my selfe. He that should make my minde 
forgoe her footing, could never bring her unto her place 
againe. She doth over lively sound, and over deepely 
search into her selfe : And therefore never suffers the wound 
which pierced the same, to be throughly cured and consoli- 
dated. It hath beene happy for me, that no infirmity could 
ever yet displace her. I oppose and present my selfe in the 
best ward I have, against all charges and assaults that beset Thus the first that should beare me away, would 
make me unrecoverable. I encounter not two : which way 
soever spoile should enter my hold, there am I open, and 
remedilesly drowned. Epicurus saith, that a wise man can 
never passe from one state to its contrary. I have some 
opinion answering his sentence, that he who hath once 
heene a very foole, shall at no time proove verie wise. God 
sends my cold answerable to my cloths, and passions an- 

The Third Booke Chap. VI 131 

swering the meanes I have to indure them. (Nature having. \ \ 
discovered mee on one side, hath covered mee on the other. jj 
Having disarmed me of strength, she hath armed me v.ith 
insensibihty, and a regular or soft apprehension. I cannot 
long endure (and lesse could in my youth) to ride cither in 
coa^Jior litter, or to go in a boat ; and both in the Citty and 
comitry~Tliate all manner of riding, but a horse-back : And 
can lesse endure a litter, then a coach, and by the same 
reason, more easily a rough agitation upon the water, 
whence commonly proceedeth feare, then the soft stirring 
a man shall feele in calme weather. By the same easie 
gentle motion, which the oares give, convaying the boat 
under us, I wot not how, I feele both my head intoxicated 
and my stomacke distempered : as I cannot likewise abide 
a shaking stoole under me. When as either the saile, or 
the gliding course of the water doth equaly carry us away, 
or that we are but towed, that gently gliding and even 
agitation, doth no whit distemper or hurt me. It is an 
interrupted and broken motion, that offends mee ; and more 
when it is languishing. I am not able to display its forme. 
Phisitions have taught mee to bind and gird my selfe with 
a napkin or swath round about the lower part of my belly, 
as a remedy for this accident ; which as yet I have not tride, 
beeing accustomed to wrestle and withstand such defects 
as are in mee ; and tame them by my selfe. Were my 
memory sufficiently informed of them, I would not thinke 
my time lost, heere to set down the infinite variety, which 
histories present unto us, of the use of coaches in the service 
of warre : divers according to the nations, and different 
according to the ages : to my seeming of great effect and 
necessity. So that it is wondrously strange, how we have 
lost all true knowledge of them ; I will onely aleadge this, 
that even lately in our fathers time, the Hungarians did 
very availefully bring them into fashion, and profitably 
set them a work against the Turks ; every one of them con- 
taining a Targattier and a Muskettier, with a certaine num- 
ber of harquebuses or calivers, ready charged ; and so 
ranged, that they might make good use of them : and all 
over covered with a pavesado, after the manner of a Gal- 
liotte. They made the front of their battaile with three 
thousand such coaches : and after the Cannon had playd, 
caused them to discharge and shoote off a volie of small 


132 Montaigne's Essayes j 

shott upon their enemies, before they should know or feele,; 
what the rest of the forces could doe : which was no small 
advancement; or if not this, they mainely drove those 
coaches amidde the thickest of their enemies squadrons, 
with purpose to breake, disroute and make waie through 
them. Besides the benefit and helpe they might make of 
them, in any suspicious or dangerous place, to flanke their' 
troupes marching from place to place : or in hast to en-' 
compasse, to embarricado, to cover or fortifie any lodge- 
ment or quarter. In my time, a gentleman of quality, in, 
one of our frontiers, unwealdy and so burly of body, that' 
hee could finde no horse able to beare his waight, and, 
having a quarrell or deadly fude in hand, was wont to' 
travaile up and down in a coach made after this fashion, 
and found much ease and good in it. But leave we these^ 
warlike coaches, as if their nullity were not sufficiently! 
^ knowne by better tokens ; The last Kings of our first race; 
■*" were wont to travell in chariots drawne by foure oxen.j 
^ Mark Antonie was the first, that caused himselfe, accom- 
panied with a minsterell harlot to be drawne by Lyons fitted 
to a coach. So did Heliogabalus after him, naming him- 
selfe Cibele the mother of the Gods; and also by Tigers,| 
counterfeiting God Bacchus: who sometimes would alsoj 
bee drawne in a coach by two Stagges : and an-other time- 
by foure mastive Dogs : and by foure naked wenches,! 
causing himselfe to bee drawne by them in pompe and| 
state, hee being all naked. The emperour FirmuSy made! 
his coach to bee drawne by Estriges of exceeding great- 
nesse, so that hee rather seemed to flye, then to roule on 
wheeles. The strangenesse of these inventions, doth bring 
this other thing unto my fantasie. That it is a kinde of 
pusilanimity in Monarkes, and a testimony that they doe 
not sufficiently know what they are, when they labour to 
shew their worth, and endevour to appeare unto the world, 
bv _excessive and intoler able expences. A thing, which in 
a strange country migfit somewhat bee excused ; but 
amongst his native subjects, where hee swayeth all in all, 
hee draweth from his dignity the extreamest degree of! 
honour, that hee may possible attaine unto. As for a gen- 
tleman, in hisowne private house toapparrel himselfe richly' 
and curiously, I deeme it a matter vaine and superfluous;; 
his house, his houshold, his traine and his kitchin doe suf- 

The Third Booke Chap. VI 133 

ficiently answere for him. The counsell which Isocrates 
giveth to his King- (in my conceite) seemeth to carry some 
reason : when hee willeth him to bee richly-stored and 
stately adorned with mooveables and houshold-stuffe, forso- 
much as it is an expence of continuance, and which descend- 
eth even to his posterity or heires : And to avoyde all mag- 
nificences, which presently vanish both from custome and 
memory. I loved when I was a yong^er brother to set my 
selfe foorth and bee gaye in cloathes, though I wanted 
other necessaries ; and it became mee well : There are some 
on whose backes their rich Robes weepe, or as wee say their 
rich cloathes are lyned with heavy debts. We have divers 
strange tales of our auncient Kings frugalitie about their 
owne persons, and in their gifts : great and farre renouned 
Kings both in credit, in valour and in fortune. Demo- 
sthenes mainely combates the law of his Citie, who assigned 
their publique money to be imployed about the stately 
setting forth of their playes and feasts : He willeth that 
their magnificence should bee scene in the quanity of tall 
ships well manned and appointed, and armies well fur- 
nished. And they have reason to accuse Theophrastus^ 
who in his booke of riches established a contrarie opinion, 
and upholdeth such a quality of expences, to be the true 

1 fruit of wealth and plenty. They are pleasures (saith 
Aristotle) that onely touch the vulgar and basest commun- 
alty, which as soone as a man is satisfied with them, vanish 
out of minde ; and whereof no man of sound judgement or 
gravity can make any esteeme. The imployment of it, as 
more profitable, just and durable would seeme more royall, 
worthy and commendable, about ports, havens, fortifica- 
tions and walles; in sumptuous buildings, in churches, hos- 
pitals, colledges, mending of heighwayes and streetes, and 
such like monuments : in which things Pope Gregory the 

* thirteenth shall leave aye-lasting and commendable memory 
unto his name : and wherein our Queene Catherin should 

' witnes unto succeeding ages her naturall liberality and ex- 

I ceeding bounty, if her meanes were answerable to her affec- 
tion. Fortune hath much spighted mee to hinder the struc- 
ture and breake-off the finishing of our new-bridge in our 
great Citty; and before my death to deprive mee of all 
hope to see the great necessity of it set forward againe. 
Moreover, it appeareth unto subjects, spectators of these 

134 Montaigne's Essayes 

triumphs, that they have a show made them of their ownei 
riches, and that they are feasted at their proper charges :! 
For, the people doe easily presume of their kings, as wee! 

Xdoe of our servants; that tliey should take care plenteously 
to provideL.us_iif~-wJiatsxiey£r-^ffiee__stand in neede of, but: 
that on their behalf e they should no way lay hands on itJ 
And therefore the Emperor Galha, sitting at supper, having: 
taken pleasure to heare a musician play and sing beforei 
him, sent for his casket, out of which he tooke a handful 
of Crowns and put them into his hand, with these wordes, 
Take this, not as a gift of the puhlique money ^ hut of mine 
owne private store. So is it, that it often commeth to 
passe, that the common people have reason to grudge, and 
that their eyes are fedde, with that which should feede their 
belly. Liberality it selfe, in a soveraigne hand is not in her 
owne luster : private men have more right, and may chal- 
lenge more interest in her. For, taking the matter exactly 
it is, a King hath nothing that is properly his owne ; hee 
oweth even himselfe to others. Authority is not given in 
favour of the authorising, hut rather in favour of the 
atithorised. A superiour is never created for his owne 
profit, but rather for the henefit of the inferiour : And a 
Phisition is instituted for the sicke, not for himselfe. All 
Magistracisj even as each arte, rejecteth her end out of her 
selfe. Nulla ars in se versatur. No arte is all in it selfe. 
Wherefore the governours and overseers of Princes child- 
hood or minority, who so earnestly endeavor to imprint this 
vertue of bounty and liberality in them ; and teach them not 
to refuse any thing, and esteeme nothing so well imployed, 
as what they shall give (an instruction which in my dayes I 
have scene in great credit) either they preferre and respect 
more their owne profit than their masters ; or else they 
understand not aright to whom they speake. It is too 
easie a matter to imprint li bemlit v in him, that hath where- 
with plenteously to satisfie" wnat he desireth at other mens 
charges. And his estimation being directed not according 
to the measure of the present, but according to the quality 
of his meanes, that exerciseth- the same, it commeth to 
prove vaine in so puissant hands. They are found to bee 
prodigall, before they be liberall. Therefore it is but of 
small commendation, in respect of other royall vertues. 
And the onely (as said the tyrant Dionysius) that agreed 

The Third Booke Chap. VI 135 

and squared well with tyrannic it selfe. I would rather 
teach him the verse of the ancient labourer, 

T]7 X^'P^ ^^' (Tirfipfiv aAAa fir) o\cp TCf duKaKU. 

Not whole sackes, but by the hand 

A man should sow his seed i' the land. 

Plut. De Athen. 

Eras, Chil. iii. cent. i. ad. 32. 

That whosoever will reape any commodity by it, must sow 
with his hand, and not powre out of the sacke : that come 
must be discreetly scattered, and not lavishly dispersed: 
And that being to give, or to say better, to pay and restore 
to such a niultitude_ of pe(yD]js.,_ .according .as„^^ 
deserved", he jought tobe_a Joy^lj_.iaitlifull, and_adyisecr\. 
distributer ,tll£r£D£Zir If the liberality of a Prince be witTiout 
heedy discretion and measure, I would rather have him 
covetous and sparing. Princely vertue seemeth to consisty 
most jn justic e. And of airpaft's~orjusTice,THat7r6tH13(^ 
and most belong to Kings, which accompanieth liberality. 
For they have it particularly reserved to their charge ; 
whereas all other justice, they happily exercise the same by 
the intermission of others. Immoderate bounty is a iveake 
meane to acquire them good will: for it rejecteth more 
people than it obtaineth : Quo in plures usus sis, minus in 
multos uti possis. Quid autem est stultius, quam, quod 
libenter facias, curare ut id diutius facere non possis? 
(Cic. Off. i.). The more you have used it to many, the 
lesse may you use it to many more: And what is more fond 
than what you willingly would doe to provide, you can no 
longer doe it? And if it be emploied without respect of 
merit, it shameth him ^at receiveth the same, and is 
received without grace. ]^ome Tyrants have been sacrificed 
to the peoples hatred, by the very hands of those^whom 
they had rashly preferred and wrongfully advanced): such 
kinde of men, meaning to assure the possession dr goods 
unlawfully and indirectly gotten, if they shevv^ to hold in 
contempt and hatred, him from whom they held them, and 
in that combine themselves unto the vulgar judgement and 
common opinion. The_subjects o f a Prin ce, rashly exces-\ / 
sive in hi s gift s^beconie inipiidenthijexces^ 
they aHHere, not unto reason, bilT unto example. Verily 
we have often just cause to blush, for our im-pudency. VVe 
are over-paid according to justice, when the recompence 

136 Montaigne's Essayes 

equaleth our service : for, doe we not owe a kinde of 
naturall duty to our Princes? If he beare our charge, he 
doth overmuch ; it sufftceth if hee assist it : the over-plus 
is called a benefit, which cannot be exacted ; for the very 
name of liberality implyeth liberty. After our fashion vv e 
have never done ; what is received is no more reckoned of : 
onely future liberality is loved : Wherefore the more a 

\ Prince doth exhaust himselfe in giving, the more friends 
''^4^kB~-iTnfrfvertsneih. How shouTSTTie" safislie "ifi temperate 

^ aesi ies, whi ch-rnrrrease according as they are replenished? 
Who so 'hath his minde on taking, hath it no more on what 
he hath taken. Covetoiisnesse hath nothing so proper, as 
to hee ungratefull. The example of Cyrus shal not ill fit 
this place, for the behoof e of our kings of these dales, as a 
touch-stone, to know whether their gifts be wel or ill em- 
ployed ; and make them perceive how much more happily 
that Emperour did wound and oppresse them, than they 
doe. Whereby they are afterward forced to exact and 
borrow of their unknowne subjects, and rather of such as 
they have wronged and aggrieved, then of those they have 
enriched and done good unto : and receive no aids, where 
any thing is gratitude, except the name. Croesus up- 
braided him with his lavish bounty, and calculated what 
his treasure would amount unto, if he were more sparing 
and close-handed. A desire surprised him to justifie his 
liberality, and dispatching letters over all parts of his 
dominions, to such great men of his estate, whom hee had 
particularly advanced, intreated every one to assist him 
with as much money as they could, for an urgent necessitie 
of his ; and presently to send it him by declaration : when 
all these count-bookes or notes were brought him, each of 
his friends supposing that it sufficed not, to offer him no 
more than they had received of his bounteous liberality, 
but adding much of their owne unto it, it was found, that 
the said summe amounted unto much more than the nig- 
gardly sparing of Croesus. Whereupon Cyrus said, / am 
no lesse greedy of riches, than other Princes, hut I am 
rather a hetter hushand of them. You see with what small 
venture I have purchased the unvaluable treasure of so 
many friends, and how much more faith full treasurers they 
are to ?nee, than mercenary men would he, without obliga- 
tion and without affection: and my exchequer or treasury 

The Third Booke Chap. VI 137 

better placed tJian in paltery coafers ; by which I draw upon 
me the hate, the envy arid the contempt of other Princes. 
The ancient Emperours were wont to draw som excuse, for 
the superfluity of their sports and publike shewes, for so 
much as their authority did in some sort depend (at least 
in apparance) from the will of the Romane people ; which 
from all ages are accustomed to be flattered by such kinde 
of spectacles and excesse. 

But they were particular ones who had bred this cus- 
tome, to gratifie their con-citizens and fellowes : especially 
by their purse, by such profusion and magnificence. It 
was cleane altered, when the masters and chiefe rulers 
came once to imitate the samxC. Pecimiariim translatio a 
jiistis dominis ad alienos non debet liberalis videri (Cic. 
Off. i.). The passing of money from right owners to 
strangers shoidd not seeme liberality. Philip, because his 
Sonne indeavoured by gifts to purchase the good will of 
the Macedonians, by a letter seemed to be displeased, and 
chid him in this manner: What? Wouldest thou liave 
thy subjects to account thee for their purse-bearer, and not 
repute thee for their King? Wilt thou frequent and prac- 
tise them? Then doe it with the benefits of thy vertue, 
not with those of thy cofers : Yet was it a goodly things, 
to cause a great quantity of great trees, all branchie and 
greene, to bee far brought and planted in plots yeelding 
nothing but dry gravell, representing a wilde shady forrest, 
divided in due seemely proportion : And the first day, to 
put into the same a thousand Estriges, a thousand 
Stagges, a thousand wilde Boares, and a thousand Buckes, 
yeelding them over to bee hunted and killed by the com- 
mon people : the next morrow in the presence of all the 
assembly to cause a hundred great Lions, a hundred 
Leopards, and three hundred huge Beares to be baited and 
tugged in pieces : and for the third day, in bloody manner 
and good earnest to make three hundred couple of Gladia- 
tors or Fencers, to combate and murder one another; as 
did the Emperour Probus. It was also a goodly shew, to 
see those huge Amphitheaters all enchased with rich 
marble, on the outside curiously wrought with [carved] 
statues, and all the inner side glittering with precious and 
rare embellishments. 

Baltheus en gemmis, en illita porticus auro. 

138 Montaigne's Essayes 

A belt beset with gemmes behold, 
Behold a walke bedawb'd with gold. 

All the sides round about that great void, replenished 
and invironed from the ground unto the very top, with 
three or fourescore rankes of steps and seates, likewise 
all of marble covered with faire cushions, 

— exeat, inquit, 
Si piidor est, et de piilvino surgat equestri, 
Cujiis res legi non sufficit. — Juven. Sat. iii. 153. 

If shame there be, let him be gone, he cries, 
And from his knightly cushion let him rise, 
Whose substance to the law doth not suffice. 

Where might conveniently bee placed an hundred thou- 
sand men, and all sit at ease. And the plaine-ground- 
worke of it, where sports were to be acted, first by Art 
to cause the same to open and chap in sunder with gaps 
and cranishes, representing hollow cavernes which 
vomited out the beasts appointed for the spectacle : that 
ended, immediately to overflow it all with a maine deepe 
sea, fraught with store of sea-monsters and other strange 
fishes, all over-laid with goodly tall ships, ready rigd and 
appointed to represent a Sea-fightj and thirdly, suddenly 
to make it smooth and drie againe, for the combate of 
Gladiators : and fourthly, being forthwith cleansed, to 
strewe it over with Vermilion and Storax, insteede of 
gravell, for the erecting of a solemne banket, for all that 
infinite number of people : the last act of one onely day. 

— quoiies nos descendentis arencB 
Vidimus in partes, ruptaque voragine terrce 
Emersisse fcras, ct iisdem scrpe latehris 
Aiirea cum croceo creveriint arhuta libro. 
Nee solum nobis silvestria cernere monstra 
Contigit, equoreos ego cum certantibtis tirsis 
Spectavi vitulos, et equorum nomine dignum, 
Sed deforme pecus. 

How oft have we beheld wild beasts appcare 
From broken gulfes of earth, upon some parte 
Of sande that did not sinke? how often there 
And thence did golden boughs ore saffron 'd starte? 
Nor onely saw we monsters of the wood, 
But I have scene Sea-calves whom Beares withstood, 
And such a kinde of beast as might be named 
A horse, but in most foule proportion framed. 

They have sometimes caused an high steepy mountaine 

The Third Booke Chap. VI 139 

to arise in the midst of the sayd Ampihtheaters, all over- 
spred with fruitful! and flourishing trees of all sortes, on 
the top whereof gushed out streames of water, as from 
out the source of a purling spring. Other times they 
have produced a great tall Ship floating up and downe, 
which of it selfe opened and split a sunder, and after it 
had disgorged from out it's bulke, foure or five hundred 
wild beasts to bee baited, it closed and vanished away 
of it selfe, without any visible helpe. Sometimes from 
out the bottome of it, they caused streakes and purlings 
of sweete water to spoute up, bubling to the highest top 
of the frame, and gently watring, sprinkling and refresh- 
ing that infinite multitude. To keepe and cover them- 
selves from the violence of the wether, they caused that 
huge compasse to be all over-spred, sometimes with purple 
sailes, all curiously wrought with the needle, sometimes 
of silke, and of some other colour, in the twinkling of 
an eye, as they pleased, they displaid and spred, or drewe 
and pulled them in againe. 

Quamvis non modico caleant spectaciila solo 
Vela reducuntur cum venit Hermogenes. 

Mart. xii. Epig. 29, 15. 
Though fervent Sunne make't hotte to see a play, 
When linnen thieves come, sailes are kept away. 

The nets likewise, which they used to put before the 
people, to save them from harme and violence of the baited 
beasts, were woven with golde. 

— atiro quoque torta refulgent 


Nets with gold enterlaced, 

Their shewes with glittring graced. 

If any thing bee excusable in such lavish excesse, it is, 
where the invention and strangenesse breedeth admira- 
tion, and not the costlie charge. Even in those vanities7 
wee may plainely perceive how fertile and happy those 
former ages were of other manner of wittes, then ours 
are. It hapneth of this kinde of fertilitie as of all^oth.^ 
productions of nature. Wee miay not say what nature 
employed then the utmost of hir power. We goe not, but 
rather creepe and stagger here and there : we goe our 
pace. I imagine our knowledge to bee weake in all 
senses : wee neither discerne far-forwardf nor see much 

140 Montaigne's Essayes 

hackivard. It embraceth little, and liveth not long: It! 
is short both in extension of time, and in amplenesse of; 
matter or invention. 

Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona 
Multi, sed omnes illachrymabiles 
Urgentur, ignotique longa 
Nocte. — HoR. Car. iv. Od. ix. 25. 

Before great Agamemnon and the rest, 
Many liv'd valiant, yet are all supprest, 
Unmoan'd, unknowne, in darke oblivions nest. 

Et supera bellum Trojanum et fimera Trojez, 
Multi alias alii quoqtie res cecinere poetcB. 

LucR. V. 326. 

Beside the Trojan warre, Troyes funeraU night, 
Of other things did other Poets write. 

And Solons narration concerning- what he had learned of 
the ^-Egyptian Priests, of their states long-life, and manner 
how to learne and preserve strange or forraine histories,! 
in mine opinion is not a testimony to bee refused in this 
consideration. Si inter tninatam in omnes partes magni- 
tudinem regionum videremus^ et temporum, in quani se 
injiciens animus et intendens, ita late longeque peregri- 
natur, tit nullam oram ultimi videat^ in qua possit insis- 
tere : In hcec immensitate infinita, vis innumerahilium appa- 
rerct forma rum (Cic. Nat. Deo. i.). // ie;e behold an un- 
limited greatnesse on all sides both of regions and times, 
whereupon the mind casting it selfe and intentive doth 
travell farre and neare, so as it sees no bounds of what 
is last, whereon it may insist; in this infinite imtJiensity 
there 7vould appeare a multitude of innumerable formes. 
If whatsoever hath come unto us by report of what is 
past were true, and knowne of any body, it would be lesse 
then nothing, in respect of that which is unknowne. And 
even of this image of the world, which whilest we live 
therein, glideth and passeth away, how wretched, weake 
and how short is the knowledge of the most curious? Not 
onely of the particular events, which fortune often 
maketh exemplar and of consequence : but of the state of 
mighty common-wealths, large Monarkies and renowned 
nations, there escapeth our knowledge a hundred times 
more, then commeth unto our notice. We keepe a coile, 
and wonder at the miraculous invention of our artilerie. 

The Third Booke Chap. VI 141 

and amazed at the rare devise of Print ing^ : w hen as un- V 
knowne to us, other men, and an otEer end oFtKe'^vorld 
named China, knew and had perfect use of both, a thou- 
sand yeares before. // we sawe as much of this vaste 
world, as we see hut a least part of it, it is very likely we 
should perceive a perpetuall multiplicity, and ever-roiiling 
vicissitude of formes. Therein is nothing singular, and 
nothing rare, if regard bee had unto nature, or to say 
better, if relation bee had unto our knowledge : which is 
a weake foundation of our rules, and which doth commonly 
present us a rig-ht-false Image of things. How vainely 
do we now-adayes conclude the declination and decrepi- 
tude of the world, by the fond arguments wee drawe from 
our owne weakenesse, drooping and declination : 

Jamque adeo affecta est cetas, affectaque tellus : 

LucR. ii. H59. 
And now both age and land 
So sicke affected stand. 

And as vainly did another conclude it's birth and youth, 
by the vigour he perceiveth in the wits of his time, abound- 
ing in novelties and invention of divers Arts : 

Veriim ut opinor, hahet novitatem, summa, recensque 
Natura est mundi, neque pridem exordia cepit: 
Quare etiam quadam nunc artes expoliuntur, 
Nunc etiam augescimt, nunc addita navigiis sunt 
Multa. — Ibid. v. 330. 

But all this world is new, as I suppose, 
Worlds nature fresh, nor lately it arose : 
Whereby some arts refined are in fashion, 
And many things now to our navigation 
Are added, daily growne to augmentation. 

Our world hath of late discovered another (and who 
can warrant us whether it be the last of his brethren, since 
both the Damons, the Sibylles, and all we have hitherto 
been ignorant of this?) no lesse-large, fuIIy-peopIed, all- 
things-yeelding, and mighty in strength, than ours : 
nevertheless so new and infantine, that he is yet to learne 
liis A. B.C. It is not yet full fifty yeeres that he knew 
neither letters, nor waight, nor measures, nor apparell, 
nor corne, nor vines. But was all naked, simply-pure, in 
Natures lappe, and lived but with such meanes and food 
as his mother-nurce affoorded him. If wee conclude 
aright of our end, and the foresaid Poet of the infancie 

142 Montaigne's Essayes 

of his age, this late-world shall but come to light, when 
ours shall fall into darknesse. The whole Universe shall 
iall into a palsey or convulsion of sinnowes : one member 
shall be maimed or shrunken, another nimble and in good 
plight. I feare, that by our contagion, we shall directly 
have furthered his declination, and hastened his ruine ; 
and that we shall too dearely have sold him our opinions, 
our new-fangles and our Arts. It was an unpolluted, 
harmelesse infant world ; yet have we not whipped and 
submitted the same unto our discipline, or schooled him 
by the advantage of our valour or naturall forces, nor 
have wee instructed him by our justice and integrity ; nor 
subdued by our magnanimity. Most of their answers, 
and a number of the negotiations we have had with them, 
witnesse that they were nothing short of us, nor behold- 
ing to us for any excellency of naturall wit or perspicuitie, 
concerning pertinency. The wonderfull, or as I may call 
it, amazement-breeding magnificence of the never-like 
scene Cities of Ciisco and Mexico^ and amongst infinite 
such like things, the admirable Garden of that King, v/here 
all the Trees, the fruits, the Hearbes and Plants, accord- 
ing to the order and greatnesse they have in a Garden, 
were most artificially framed in gold : as also in his 
Cabinet, all the living creatures that his Countrey or his 
Seas produced, were cast in gold; and the exquisite beauty 
of their workes, in precious Stones, in Feathers, in Cot- 
ton and in Painting : shew that they yeelded as little unto 
us in cunning and Industrie. But concerning unfained 
devotion, awefull observance of lawe. , unspotted integrity, 
bounteous liberality, due loyalty and free liberty, it hath 
greatly availed us, that we had not so much as they : By 
v/hich advantage, they have lost, cast-away, sold, undone 
and betraied themselves. 

Touching hardinesse and undaunted courage, and as 
for matchlesse constancie, unmooved assurednesse, undis- 
maied resolution against paine, smarting, famine and 
death it selfe ; I will not feare to oppose the examples 
which I may easily finde amongst them, to the most famous 
ancient examples, we may with all our Industrie discover 
in all the Annales and memories of our knowen old World. 
For, as for those which have subdued them, let them lay 
aside the wiles, the policies and stratagems, which they 

The Third Booke Chap. VI 143 

have emploied to cozen, to cunny-catch, and to circum- 
vent them ; and the just astonishment which those nations 
might justly conceive, by seeing- so unexpected an arrivall 
of bearded men ; divers in language, in habite, in religion, 
in behaviour, in forme, in countenance ; and from a part 
of the v/orld so distant, and where they never heard any 
habitation was : mounted upon great and unknowen mon- 
sters ; against those, who had never so much as scene any 
horse, and lesse any beast whatsoever apt to beare, or 
taught to carry either man or . burden ; covered with a 
shining and hard skinne, and armed with slicing-keene 
weapons and glittering armour : against them, who for 
the wonder of the glistring of a looking-glasse or of a 
plaine knife, would have changed or given inestimable 
riches in Gold, Precious Stones and Pearles ; and who had 
neither the skill nor the matter wherewith at any leasure, 
they could have pierced our Steele ; to which you m.ay adde 
the flashing-fire and thundring roare of shotte and Hargue- 
buses ; able to quell and daunt even CcBsar himselfe, had 
he beene so sodainely surprised and as little experienced 
as they were : and thus to come unto, and assault silly- 
naked people, saving where the invention of weaving of 
Cotton cloath was knowne and used : for the most alto- 
gether unarmed, except some bowes, stones, staves and 
woodden bucklers : unsuspecting poore people, surprised 
under colour of amity and well-meaning faith over-taken 
by the curiosity to see strange and unknowne things : I 
say, take this disparity from the conquerors, and you 
deprive them of all the occasions and cause of so many 
unexpected victories. When I consider that sterne- 
untamed obstinacy, and undanted vehemence, wherewith 
so many thousands of men, of women and children, do 
so infinite times present themselves unto inevitable 
dangers, for the defence of their Gods and liberty : This 
generous obstinacy to endure all extremities, all difficul- 
ties and death, more easily and willingly, then basely to 
yeelde unto their domination, of whom they have so 
abhominably beene abused : some of them choosing rather 
to starve with hunger and fasting, being taken, then to 
accept food at their enemies hands, so basely victorious : 
I perceave, that whosoever had undertaken them man to 
man, without ods of armes, of experience or of number, 

144 Montaigne's Essayes 

should have had as dangerous a warre, or perhaps more, 
as any we see amonjSfst us. 

Why did not so glorious a conquest happen under 
■^Alexander, or during the time of the ancient Greekes and 
V Romanes? or why befell not so great a change and altera- 
tion of Empires and people, under such hands as would 
gently have polished, reformed and incivilized, what in 
them they deemed to be barbarous and rude : or would 
have nourished and fostered those good seedes, which 
nature had there brought foorth : adding not onely to the 
manuring of their grounds and ornaments of their cities, 
such artes as we had ; and that no further then had 
beene necessary for them, but there withall joyning unto 
the originall vertues of the country, those of the ancient 
Grecians and Romanes? What [reparation] and what 
reformation would all that farre spredding world have 
found, if the examples, demeanors and pollicies, where- 
with we first presented them, had called and allured those 
uncorrupted nations, to the admiration and imitation of 
vertue, and had established betweene them and us a 
brotherly society and mutuall correspondency? How 
easie a matter had it beene, profitably to reforme, and 
christianly to instruct, minds yet so pure and new, so 
willing to bee taught, being for the most part endowed 
with so docile, so apt and so yeelding natarall begin- 
nings? whereas contrary wise, we have made use of their 
ignorance and inexperience, [to] drawe them more easily 
unto treason, fraude, luxurie, avarice and all manner of 
inhumanity and cruelty, by the example of our life and 
patterne of our customes. Who ever raised the service 
of marchandize and benefit of trafiick to so high a rate? 
So many goodly citties ransacked and razed ; so many 
nations destroyed and made desolate ; so infinite millions 
of harmelesse people of all sexes, states and ages, mas- 
sacred, ravaged and put to the sword; and the richest, 
the fairest and the best part of the world topsiturvied, 
ruined and defaced for the traffick of Pearles and Pepper : 
Oh mechanicall victories, oh base conquest. Never did 
greedy revenge, publik wrongs or generall enmities, so 
moodily enrage, and so passionately incense men against 
men, unto so horrible hostilities, bloody dissipation, and 
miserable calamities. 

The Third Booke Chap. VI 145 

Cerfaine Spaniardes coasting- along-st the Sea in search 
of mines, fortuned to land in a very fertile, pleasant and 
well peopled country : unto the inhabitants whereof they 
declared their intent, and shewed their accustomed per- 
svvasions ; saying- : That they were quiet and well-mean- 
ing men, comming- from farre-countries, being sent from 
the King of Castile, the greatest King of the habitable 
earth, unto whom the Pope, representing God on earth, 
had given the principality of all the Indies. That if they 
would become tributaries to him, they should bee most 
kindly used and courteously entreated : They required of 
them victualles for their nourishment; and some gold for 
the behoofe of certaine Physicall experiments. Moreover, 
they declared unto them, the beleeving in one onely God, 
and the trueth of our religion, which they perswaded them 
to embrace, adding thereto some minatorie threates. 
Whose answer was this : That happily they might be quiet 
and well meaning, but their countenance shewed them to 
be other7vise : As concerning their King, since he seemed 
to beg, he shewed to be poore and needy: And for the 
Pope, who had made that distribution, he expressed him- 
selfe a man loving dissention, in going about to give unto 
a third man, a thing which was not his owne : so to make 
it questionable and litigious amongst the ancient posses-- 
sors of it. As for victualles, they should have part of 
their store: And for gold, they had but little, and that it 
was a thing they made very small accoumpt of, as meerely 
unprofitable for the service of their life, whereas all their 
care was but how to passe it happily and pleasantly : and 
therefore, what quantity soever they should finde, that 
onely excepted which was employed about the service of 
their Gods, they might bouldly take it. As touching one 
onely God, the discourse of him had very well pleased 
them: but they would by no meanes change their religion, 
under which they had for so long time lived so happily: 
and that they were not accustomed to take any counsell, 
but of their friends and acquaintance. As concerning their 
menaces, it was a signe of want of judgement, to threaten 
those, whose nature, condition, power and meanes was 
to them unknowne. And therefore they should with all 
speed hasten to avoid their dominions [forsomuch as they 
! were not wont to adinit or take in good part the kind- 

146 Montaigne's Essayes 

nesses and remonstrances of armed people^ namely of 
strangers) otherwise they would deale with them as they 
had done with such others^ shewing them the heads of 
certaine men sticking upon stakes about their Citie, which 
had lately beene executed. Loe here an example of the 
stammering- of this infancy. 

But so it is, neither in this, nor in infinite other places, 
where the Spaniards found not the marchandise they 
sought for, neither made stay or attempted any violence, 
whatsoever other commodity the place yeelded : witnesse 
my Canibales. Of two the most mighty and glorious 
Monarkes of that world, and peradventure of all our 
Westerne parts, Kings over so m.any Kings : the last they 
deposed and overcame : He of Peru, having by them been 
taken in a battell, and set at so excessive a ransome, that 
it exceedeth all beliefe, and that truely paide : and by his 
conversation having given them apparant signes of a free, 
liberall, undanted and constant courage, and declared to 
be of a pure, noble, and w^ell composed understanding; 
a humour possessed the conquerors, after they had most 
insolently exacted from him a Million, three hundred fivei 
and twenty thousand, and five hundred waights of golde ;j 
besides the silver and other precious things, which 
amounted to no lesse a summe (so that their horses were 
all shood of massive gold) to discover (what disloyalty or 
treachery soever it might cost them) what the remainder 
of this Kings treasure might be, and Vv^ithout controlment 
enjoy what ever he might have hidden or concealed from 
them. Which to compasse, they forged a false accusation 
and proofe against him ; That hee practised to raise his 
provinces, and intended to induce his subjects to some 
insurrection, so to procure his liberty. Whereupon, by 
the very judgement of those who had complotted this 
forgery and treason against him, hee was condemned to 
be publikely hanged and strangled : having first made him 
to redeeme the torment of being burned alive, b}^ the bap- 
tisme which at the instant of his execution, in charity they 
bestowed upon him. A horrible and the like never heard 
of accident : which neverthelesse he undlsmaiedly endured 
with an unmoved m.anner, and truly-royall gravity, with- 
out ever contradicting himselfe either in countenance or 
speech. And then, somewhat to mitigate and circum- 

The Third Booke Chap. VI 147 

vent those silly unsuspecting people, amazed and aston- 
ished at so strange a spectacle, they counterfeited a great 
mourning and lamentation for his death, and appointed 
his funeralls to bee solemnly and sumptuously celebrated. 
The other King of Mexico, having a long time man- 
fully defended his besieged City, and in the tedious siege, 
shewed what ever pinching-sufferance, and resolute-per- 
severance can effect, if ever any couragious Prince or 
warre-like people shewed the same ; and his disastrous 
successe having delivered him alive into his enemies hands, 
upon conditions to bee used as beseemed a King : who 
during the time of his imprisonment, did never make the 
least shew of any thing unworthy that glorious title. After 
which victory, the Spaniards not finding that quantitie of 
gold they had promised themselves, when they had ran- 
sacked and ranged all corners, they by meanes of the 
cruellest tortures and horriblest torments they could 
possibly devise, beganne to wrest and draw some more 
from such prisoners as they had in keeping. But unable 
to profit any thing that way, finding stronger hearts than 
their torments, they in the end fell to such moody out- 
rages, that contrary to all law of nations, and against their 
solemne vowes and promises, they condemned the King 
himselfe and one of the chiefest Princes of his Court, to 
the Racke, one in presence of another : The Prince en- 
vironed round with hot burning coales, being overcome 
with the exceeding torment, at last in most pitious sort 
turning his dreary eyes tovi^ard his Master, as if hee asked 
mercy of him for that hee could endure no longer; The 
king fixing rigorously and fiercely his lookes upon him, 
seeming to upbraid him with his remisnesse and pusilan- 
imity, with a sterne and setled voyce uttered these few 
■words unto him; What? supposest thou I am in a cold 
■bath? am I at more ease than thou art? Whereat the 
»silly wretch immediately fainted under the torture, and 
yeelded up the ghost. The king half rosted, was carried 
iaway : Not so much for pitty (for what ruth could ever 
■enter so barbarous mindes, who upon the surmised in- 
formation of some odde piece or vessell of golde, they 
i intended to get, would broyle a man before their eyes, 
and not a man onely, but a king, so great in fortune and 
so renowned in desert?) but for as much as his unmatched 

148 Montaigne's Essayes 

constancy did more and more make their inhumane cruelty 
ashamed : They afterward hanged him, because he had 
couragiously attempted by armes to deliver himselfe out 
of so long captivity and miserable subjection ; where he 
ended his wretched life, worthy an high minded and never 
danted Prince. At another time, in one same fire, they 
caused to be burned all alive foure hundred common men, 
and threescore principall Lords of a Province, whom by 
the fortune of warre they had taken prisoners. These 
narrations we have out of their owne bookes : for they 
doe not onely avouch, but vauntingly publish them. May 
it hee, they doe it for a testimony of their justice or zeale 
toward their religion? verily they are wayes over-different 
and enemies to so sacred an ende. Had they proposed 
unto themselves to enlarge and propagate our religion, 
they would have considered, that it is not amplified by 
possession of lands, but of men : and would have beene 
satisfied with such slaughters, as the necessity of warre 
bringeth, without indifferently adding thereunto so bloody 
a butchery, as upon savage beasts ; and so universall as 
fire or sword could ever attaine unto ; having purposely 
preseVved no more than so many miserable bond-slaves, 
as they deemed might suffice, for the digging, working 
and service of their mines : So that divers of their chief- 
tains have beene executed to death, even in the places 
they had conquered, by the appointment of the Kings of 
Castile, justly offended at the seld-seene horror of their 
barbarous demeanours, and well nigh all disesteemed, con- 
temned and hated. God hath meritoriously permitted, 
that many of their great pillages, and ill gotten goods, 
have either beene swallowed up by the revenging Seas in 
transporting them, or consumed by the intestine warres 
and civill broiles, wherewith themselves have devoured one 
another ; and the greatest part of them have been over- 
whelmed and buried in the bowels of the earth, in the 
very places they found them, without any fruit of theiri 
victory. Touching the objection which some make, that 
the receipt, namely in the hands of so thrifty, wary and 
wise a Prince, doth so little answer the fore-conceive<^ 
hope, which was given unto his predecesors, and the saic^ 
former aboundance of riches, they met withall at the firs^ 
discovery of this new-found world, (for although the)| 

The Third Booke Chap. VI 149 

bring home great quantity of gold and silver, we per- 
ceive the same to be nothing, in respect of what might be 
expected thence) it may be answered, that the use of money 
was there altogether unknowne ; and consequently that all 
their gold was gathered together, serving to no other pur- 
pose, than for shew, state and ornament, as a moovable 
reserved from father to sonne by many puissant Kings, 
who exhausted all their mines, to collect so huge a heape 
of vessels or statues for the ornament of their Temples, 
and embellishing of their Pallaces : whereas all our gold 
is employed in commerce and trafficke betweene man and 
man. Wee mince and alter it into a thousand formes : 
wee spend, wee scatter and disperse the same to severall 
uses. Suppose our Kings should thus gather and heape 
up all the gold they might for many ages hoard up to- 
g^ether, and keepe it close and untouched. Those of the 
kingdome of Mexico were somewhat more encivilized, and 
better artists, than other nations of that world. And as 
wee doe, so judged they, that this Universe was neare 
his end : and tooke the desolation wee brought amongst 
them as an infallible signe of it. They beleeved the state 
of the world, to bee divided into five ages, as in the life 
of five succeeding Sunnes, whereof foure had already 
ended their course or time ; and the same which now 
shined upon them, was the fifth and last. The first 
perished together with all other creatures, by an universall 
inundation of waters. The second by the fall of the 
heavens upon us which stifled and overwhelmed every liv- 
ing thing : in which age they affirme the Giants to have 
beene, and shewed the Spaniards certaine bones of them, 
according to whose proportion the stature of men came 
ik) bee of the height of twenty handfuls. The third was 
consumed by a violent fire, which burned and destroyed 
all. The fourth by a whirling emotion of the ayre and 
windes, which with the violent fury of it selfe, remooved 
and overthrew divers high mountaines : saying, that men 
dyed not of it, but were transformed into Munkies. {Oh 
what impressions doth not the weakenesse of mans beliefe 
admit?) After the consummation of this fourth Sunne, 
Ithe world continued five and twenty yeares in perpetual! 
darkenesse : in the fifteenth of which one man and one 
I woman were created, who renewed the race of man-kinde. 

150 Montaigne's Essayes 

Ten yeares after, upon a certaine day, the Sunne appeared 
as newly created : from which day beg-inneth ever since 
the calculation of their yeares. On the third day of whose 
creation, died their ancient Gods, their new ones hava 
day by day beene borne since. In what manner this las^ 
Sunne shall perish, my aucthor could not learne of them.' 
But their number of this fourth change, doth jumpe and 
meete with that great conjunction of the Starres, which 
eight hundred and odde yeares since, according- to the 
Astrologians supposition, produced divers great altera- 
tions and strange novelties in the world. Concerning the 
proud pompe and glorious magnificence, by occasion of 
which 1 am fallen into this discourse, nor Grece, nor Rome, 
nor JEgipt, can (bee it in profit, or difficultie or nobility) 
equall or compare sundrie and divers of their workes. 
The cawcy or high-way which is yet to bee scene in Peru, 
erected by the Kings of that countrie, stretching from the 
city of Quito, unto that of Cusco (containing three hundred 
leagues in length) straight, even, and fine, and twentie 
paces in breadth curiously paved, raysed on both sides 
with goodly, high masonrie-walles, all along which, on 
the inner side there are two continuall running streames, 
pleasantly beset with beautious trees, which they call Moly. 
In framing of which, where they mette any mountaines 
or rockes, they have cut, rased and levelled them, and 
filled all hollow places with lime and stone. At the endc 
of every dayes journey, as stations, there are built stately 
great pallaces, plentiously stored with all manner of good 
victuals, apparrell and amies, as well for daylie way-fair- 
ing men, as for such armies that might happen to passe 
that way. In the estimation of which worke I have espe- 
cially considered the difficulty, which in that place is 
particularly to bee remembred. For they built with no 
stones that were lesse then ten foote square : They had 
no other meanes to cary or transport them, then by meere 
strength of armes to draw and dragge the carriage they 
needed : they had not so much as the arte to make 
scaffolds; nor knew other devise, then to raise so much 
earth or rubbish, against their building, according as the 
worke riseth, and afterward to take it away again e. But 
returne we to our coaches. In steade of them, and of 
all other carrying beastes they caused themselves to be 

The Third Booke Chap. VII 151 

carryed by men, and upon their shoulders. This last King^ 
of FerUy the same day hee was taken, was thus carried 
upon rafters or beames of massive Golde, sittings in a faire 
chaire of state, likewise all of g-olde, in the middle of his 
battaile. Looke how many of his porters as were slaine, 
CO make him fall (for all their endevour was to take him 
alive) so many others, and as it were avye, tooke and 
underwent presently the place of the dead : so that they 
could never be broug-ht down or made to falle, what 
slaughter so ever was made of those kinde of people, untill 
such time as a horseman furiously ranne to take him by 
some part of his body, and so pulled him to the ground. 




Since we cannot attaine unto it, let us revenge ourselves 
with railing against it : yet is it not absolute railing, to finde 
fault with any thing : There are dejects found in all things, 
hoiv faire soever in show^ and desirable they be. It hath 
generally this evident advantage, that when ever it pleaseth 
it will decline, and hath well-nigh the choise of one and 
other condition. For a man doth not fall from all heights ; 
divers there are, whence a man may descend without fall- 
ing. Verily, me seemeth, that we value it at too high a 
rate : and prize over-deare the resolution of those, whom 
we have either scene or heard, to have contemned, or of 
their owne motion rejected the same. Her essence is not so 
evidently commodious, but a man may refuse it without 
wonder. Indeed I finde the labour very hard in suffering 
of evils ; but in the contentment of a meane measure of 
fortune, and shunning of greatnesse, therein I see no great 
difficulty. In my conceit, it is a vertue, w^hereunto my selfe, 
who am but a sim.ple ninny, might easily attaine, and 
without great contention. What shall they doe, who would 
also bring into consideration, the glory, which accom- 
panieth this refusall, wherein may fall more ambition, then 
even in the desire and absolute enjoying of greatnesse? 
For somuch as ambition is never better directed according 
to it selfe, then by a straying and unfrequented paUu 

152 Montaigne's Essayes 

I sharpen my courage toward patience, and weaken the 
same against desire. I have as much to wish for as 
another, and leave my wishes as much liberty and indiscre- 
tion : but yet, it never came into my minde, to wish for 
Empire, for Royalty or eminency of high and commanding 
fortunes. I aime not that way : I love my selfe too well. 
When I thinke to grow, It is but meanly ; with a forced and 
coward advancement ; fit for me : yea in resolution, in wise- 
dome, in health, in beauty, and also in riches. But thisj 
credite, this aspiring reputation, this overswaying 
authority, suppresseth my imagination. And cleane oppc-| 
site to some other, I should peradventure love my selfe 
better, to be the second or third man in Perigot, then the 
first in Paris: At least, without faining, I had rather be the 
third man in Paris, then the first in charge. I will neither] 
contend with an Usher of a doore, as a silly unknowenj 
man ; nor with gaping and adoration make a Lane through 
the throng as I passe. I am enured to a meane calling ;j 
mediocrity best fitteth me, as well by my fortune, as by| 
mine owne humor. And have shewed by the conduct of myi 
life and course of my enterprises, that I have rather sought 
to avoid, then otherwise to embrace beyond the degree ofi 
fortune that at my birth it pleased God to call me unto.i 
Each naturall constitution, is equally just and easie. My 
minde is so dull and slowe, that I measure not good fortune 
according to her height, but rather according to her 
facility. And if my hart be not great enough, it is ratably 
free and open, and who biddeth me, bouldly to publish my 
weaknesse. Should any will me, on the one part, to con- 
ferre and consider the life of L. Thurius Balhus, a worthy 
gallant man, wise, faire, goodly, healthy, of good under-i 
standing, richly-plentious in all maner of commodities and| 
pleasures, leading a quiet easefull life, altogether his owne,| 
with a minde armed, and well prepared against death, 
superstition, griefes, cares and other encombrances of 
humane necessity ; dying in his old age, in an honourable 
battell, with his weapons in his hand, for the defence of! 
his countrie; and on the other side the life of M. Regulus, 
so high and great, as all men know, together with his 
admirable and glorious end : the one unmentioned and: 
without dignity, the other exemplare and wonderfully 
renouned : truly I would say what Cicero saith of it, had I 

The Third Booke Chap. VII 153 

the gift of well-speaking as hee had. But if I were to sute 
them unto mine, I would also say, that the former is 
as much agreeing to my quality, and to the desire I 
endevour to conforme my quality unto, as the second is 
farre beyond it. That to this I cannot attaine but by venera- 
tion ; and to the other I would willingly attaine by custome. 
But returne we to our temporall greatnesse, whence we 
have digressed. I am distasted of all mastry, both active 
and passive. Otanes one of the seaven that by right might 
chalenge the Crowne, or pretend the Kingdome of Persia, 
resolved upon such a resolution as I should easily have 
done the like : which was, that he utterly renounced all 
maner of claime he might in any sort pretend unto that 
crowne, to his fellow competitores, were it either by elec- 
tion or chance : alwayes provided that both himselfe and all 
his, might live in that Empire, free from all subjections, 
and exempted from all maner of commandement, except 
that of the ancient lawes : and might both challenge all 
liberty, and enjoy all immunities, that should not prejudice 
them : being as impacient to command, as to be com- 
manded. The sharpest and most dificile profession of the 
world, is (in mine opinion) worthily to act and play the 
King. I excuse more of their faults, then commonly other 
men doe : and that in consideration of the downe-bearing 
waight of their immense charge, which much astonisheth 
me : It is a very hard task to keep a due measure, in so 
unmeasurable a power. Yet is it, that even with those, 
that are of a lesse excellent nature, it is a singular incita- 
tion to vertue, to be seated in such a place, where you shall 
doe no maner of good, that is not registred and recorded : 
And where the least wel-dooing extendeth to so many per- 
sons : And where your sufficiency (as that of Preachers) 
is principally directed to the people ; a weake and partiall 
judge, easily to be beguiled, and easie to be pleased. There 
are hut few things, of ivhich we may give a sincere judge- 
ment : for there be very few, wherein in some sort or other, 
we are not particularly interessed. Superiority and inferi- 
ority, maistry and subjection, are joyntly tied unto a 
naturall kinde of envy and contestation ; they must perpetu- 
ally enter-spoile one another. I beleeve neither the one nor 
the other, concerning hir companions rights : let us suffer 
reason to speake of it, which is inflexible and impassible, 

III 442 F 

154 Montaigne's Essayes 

when or how we shall make an end. I was not long- since' 
reading- of two Scottish bookes striving upon this subject. 
The popular makes the King to be of worse condition then 
a Carter : and he that extolleth Monarchy, placeth him 
both in power and soveraignty, many steps above the Gods. 
Now the incommodity of greatnesse, which here I have 
undertaken to note and speake of, (upon some occasion 
lately befalne mee) is this. There is peradventure nothing 
more pleasing to the commerce of men, then the Essayes,' 
which we through jealousie of honour or valour, make one 
against another, be it in the exercise of the body or minde : 
wherein soveraigne greatnesse, hath no true or essentiall 
part. Verily, it hath often seemed unto me, that through 
over much respect. Princes are therein used disdainefully 
and treated injuriously : For, the thing whereat (in my 
youth) I was infinitely offended, was, that those which v^^ere 
trained and schooled with mee, should forbeare to doe it in 
good earnest, because they found me unworthy to bee with- 
stood or to resist their endevours. It is that we dayly see to 
happen unto them ; every man finding himselfe unworthy 
to force himselfe ag-ainst them. If one perceive them never 
so little affected to have the victory, there is none but will 
strive to yeeld it them, and that will not rather wrong his 
glory, then offend theirs : No man imployeth more dili- 
gence then needs he must to serve their honour. What 
share have Princes in the throng, where all are for them? 
Mee thinks I see those Paladines of former ages, present- 
ing themselves in joustes, tiltings and combats, with bodies 
and armes enchanted. Brisson running against Alexander, 
counterfeited his course : Alexander chid him for it : but 
he should have caused him to be whipt. For this considera- 
tion, was Carneades wont to say, that Princes children 
learn't nothing aright hut to manage and ride horses; 
forsomuch as in all other exercises, every man yeeldeth, 
and giveth them the victory : but a horse who is neyther 
a flatterer nor a Courtier, will as soone throw the child of 
a King as the son of a base porter. Homer hath beene 
forced to consent that Venus (so sweet a saint and delicate 
a Goddesse) should be hurt at the siege of Troy, thereby to 
ascribe courage and hardinesse unto her qualities never 
seen in those that are exempted from danger. The Gods 
themselves are fained to be angry, to feare, to be jealous. 

The Third Booke Chap. VII 155 

to grieve, to shew passion, and be subject to mortall sense, 
thereby to honour them with the vertues which the Poets 
and Philosophers invent amongst us : Nay, they are sup- 
posed to runne away, and to have a feeHng of all our 
imperfections. Who doth not participate both hazard and 
difficulties J cannot justly pretend interest in the honor^ or 
challenge share in the pleasure, that followeth dangerous 
actions or hazardous attempts. It is pitty a man should be 
so powerfull, that all things must yeeld and give place unto 
him. Such as are in so high eminency of greatnesse, their 
fortune rejects society and conversation too farre from 
them ; she placeth them in over remote and uncouth places. 
This easefull life and plausible facility to bring all under, 
and subject mens mindes, is an enemy to all manner of 
pleasure. It is a kinde of sliding, and not a going : It is to 
sleepe, and not to live. Conceive man accompanied with 
omnipotency, you overwhelme him : he must in begging 
manner crave some empeachment and resistance of you. 
His being and his good, is in want and indigence. Their 
good qualities are dead and lost : for, they are not heard 
but by comparison, and they are excluded : they have little 
knowledge of true praise, being beaten with so continual! 
and uniforme an approbation. Have they to doe with the 
simplest of their subjects? they have no meane to take 
advantage of him, if he but say ; It is because he is my 
King, he supposeth to have suflficiently expressed, and you 
must understand, that in so saying, he hath lent a helping 
hand to overthrow himselfe. This quality suppresseth and 
consumeth all other true and essential qualities : they are 
even drowned in the Royalty ; which gives them no leave, 
to make the offices of their charge to prevaile, except in 
such actions as directly concerne and stead the same. To 
he a King, is a matter of that consequence, that onely hy it 
he is so. That strange glimmering and eye-dazeling light, 
which round about environeth, overcasteth and hideth from 
us : our weake sight is thereby bleared and dissipated, as 
beeing filled and obscured by that greater and further- 
spredding brightnesse. The Senate allotted the honor and 
ii prise of eloquence unto Tiberius; he refused it, supposing 
that if it hath beene true, he could not revenge himselfe of 
I so limited and partiall judgement. As we yeeld Princes all 
advantages of honor, so we aucthorize their defects and 

156 Montaigne's Essay es 

sooth-up their vices : not onely by approbation, but also by 
imitation. All Alexanders followers bare their heads side- 
ling, as he did. And such as flattered Dionysius^ in his 
owne presence did run and justle one another, and either 
stumbled at, or over-threw what ever stood before their 
feete, to inferre; that they were as short-sighted or spur- 
blinde, as he was. Naturall imperfections have sometimes 
served for commendation and favour. Nay I have scene 
deafnesse affected. And because the maister hated his 
wife, Plutarch hath seen courtiers to sue a divorce of 
theirs, whom they loved very well. And which is more, 
paillardise and all maner of dissolution hath thereby beene 
held in credit; as also disloyalty, blasphemy, cruelty, 
heresie, superstition, irreligion, wantonnesse and worse, if 
worse may be. Yea by an example more dangerous, then 
that of Mithridates his flatterers, who for somuch as their 
master pretended to have skill in phisick and aspired to the 
honor of a good Physition, came to him to have their 
members incized and cauterized. For these others suffer to 
have their soules cauterized ; a much more precious and 
nobler part then the body. But to end where I began : 
Adrian the Emperor debating with Favorinus the Philo- 
sopher about the interpretation of some word ; Favorinus 
did soone yeeld the victory unto him, his friends finding 
fault with him for it; you but jest, my masters (quoth he) 
would you not have him to he much wiser then /, who hath 
the absolute command over thirty legions? Augustus writ 
some verses against Asinius Pollio, which Pollio hearing, 
he said, I will hould my peace; for, it is no wisedome to 
contend in writing with him, who may proscribe. And they 
had reason : For DionysiuSy because he could not equall 
Philoxenus in Poesie, nor match Plato in discourse, con- 
demned the one to the stone-quarries, and sent the other to 
bee sold as a slave in the He of /Egina. 



It is a custome of our law, to condemne some, for the 
warning of others. To condemne them because they have 

The Third Booke Chap. VIII 157 

misdone, were folly, as saith Plato. For what is once done 
can never be undone : but they are condemned to the end 
that they should not offend againe, or that others may 

' avoide the example of their offence. He who is hanged is 
not corrected, hut others by him. Even so doe I. My 

• errors are sometimes naturall, incorrigible and remedilesse. 

5 But whereas honest men profit the Common wealth in caus- 
ing themselves to be imitated. I shall happily benefit the 
same, in making my selfe to be evitated. 

Nonne vides Albi ut male vivat filius, utque 

Barrus inops? magnum documentum, ne patriam. rem. 

Perdere quis velit. — Hor. Ser. i. sect. iv. 109. 

Doe you not see, how that mans sonne lives badly, 

That man's a begger by his spending madly? 

A lesson great, that none take joy : His patrimony to destroy. 

By publishing and accusing my imperfections, some man 
may peradventure learne to feare them. The parts I most 
esteeme in my selfe, reape more honor by accusing, then by 
commending my selfe. And that's the cause I more often 
fall into them againe, and rest upon them. But when all 
the cardes be told, a man never speakes of himself e, with- 
out losse. A mans own condemnations are ever increased : 
praises ever decreased. There may be some of my com- 
plexion, who am better instructed by contrariety then by 
similitude ; and more by escaping then by following. Cato 
senior had a special regard to this kind of discipline, when 
he said, that wisemen have more to learne of fooles then 
fooles of wisemen. And that ancient player on the Lyra, 
whom Pausanias reporteth, to have beene accustomed to 
compell his schollers sometimes to goe heare a bad Player, 
who dwelt right over-against him ; where they might learne 
to hate his discords and false measures. The horror of 
cruelty drawes me neerer unto clemency, then any patterne 
of clemency can possibly win me. A cunning rider or skil- 
I full horseman doth not so properly teach me, to sit well on 
1 horsebacke, as doth one of our Lawyers, or a Venetian by 
-' seeing him ride. And an ill manner of speech doth better 
i reforme mine, then any well polished forme of speaking. 
The sottish countenance of another, doth dayly advertise 
; and forewarne me. That which pricketh, toucheth and 
rouzeth better, then that which delighteth. These times are 
fit to reforme us backward, more by dissenting, then by 

158 Montaigne's Essayes 

consenting ; more by difference then by accord. Being but 
little instructed by good examples, I make use of bad : the 
lesson of which is ordinary. I have endevoured, nay I have 
laboured to yeeld my selfe as pleasing and affable, as I saw- 
others peevish and froward : as constant, as I saw others 
variable; as gentle and milde, as I perceived others intract- 
able and wild : and as good and honest, as I discerned 
others wicked and dishonest. But I proposed certaine in- 
vincible measures unto my selfe. The most fruitfull and 
naturall exercise of our spirit, is, in my selfe-pleasing con- 
ceit, conference. The use whereof, I finde to be more 
delightsome, then any other action of our life : And that's 
the reason, why, if I were now forced to choose, (being in 
the minde I now am in) I would rather yeeld to lose my 
sight, then forgoe my hearing or my speech. The 
Athenians and also the Romans, did ever hold this exercise 
in high honor and reputation, namely in their Academies. 
And at this day, the Italians doe yet keep a kinde of forme 
and trace of it, to their great profit, as may apparantly be 
discerned by comparing their wits unto ours. The study 
and plodding on bookes, is a languishing and weake kinde 
of motion, and which heateth or earnesteth nothing ; 
whereas conference doth both learne, teach and exercise at 
once. If I conferre with a stubborne wit, and encounter 
a sturdy wrestler, he toucheth me to the quicke, hits me on 
the flanks, and pricks me both on the left and right side : 
his imaginations vanquish and confound mine. Jelousie, 
glory and contention drive, cast and raise me above my 
selfe. And an unison or consent, is a quality altogether 
tedious and wearisome in conference. But as our minde 
is fortified by the communication of regular and vigorous 
spirits ; it cannot well be expressed, how much it loseth 
and is bastardized, by the continuall commerce and fre- 
quentation, we have with base, weake and dull spirits. Noj 
contagion spreds it selfe further then that. I know by long 
experience what an ell of it is worth. I love to contest 
and discourse, but not with many, and onely for my selfe. 
For, to serve as a spectacle unto great men, and by way 
of contention, for one to make a glorious shew of his ready, 
wit and running tongue : I deeme it a profession farrei 
unfitting a man of honor. Sottishnes is an ill quality, but; 
not to be able to endure it, and to fret and vex at it, as it; 

The Third Booke Chap. VIII 159 

hapneth to me, is another kinde of imperfection, which in 
[importunity] is not much behinde sottishnes : and that's it 
I will now accuse in my selfe : I doe with great liberty and 
facility, enter into conference and disputation : forsomuch 
as opinion findes but a hard soile to enter and take any 
deepe roote in me. No propositions amaze me, no conceit 
woundeth me, what contrariety soever they have to mine. 
There is no fantazie so frivolous or humor so extravagant, 
that in mine opinion is not sortable to the production of 
humane vvit. Wee others, who debarre our judgement of 
the right to make conclusions, regard but negligently the 
diverse opinions : and if we lend it not our judgement, we 
easily affoord it our eares. Where one scale of the ballance 
is altogether empty, I let the other waver too and fro, under 
an old wives dreames. And me seemeth, I may well be 
excused, if I rather accept an odde number, than an even : 
Thursday in respect of Friday if I had rather make a twelfth 
or fourteenth at a table, then a thirteenth : if when I am 
travelling I would rather see a Hare coasting, then crossing 
my way : and rather reach my left, then my right foote, to 
be shod. All such fond conceits, now in credit about us, 
deserve at least to be listned unto. As for me, they onely 
beare away inanity, and surely they do so. Vulgar and 
casuall opinions are yet of some waight, which in nature are 
something els then nothing. And who wadeth not so far 
into them, to avoid the vice of superstition, falleth happily 
into the blame of wilfulnesse. The contradictions then of 
judgements, doe neither offend nor move, but awaken and 
exercise me. We commonly shunne correction whereas we 
should rather seeke and present our selves unto it, chiefly 
when it commeth by the way of conference, and not of 
regency. At every opposition, we consider not whether it 
be just ; but be it right or wrong, how we may avoide it : 
In stead of reaching our armes, we stretch forth our clawes 
unto it. I should endure to bee rudely handled and checked 
by my friends, though they should call me foole, coxe- 
combe, or say I raved. I love a man that doth stoutly 
expresse himselfe, amongst honest and worthy men, and 
whose words answere his thoughts. We should fortifie and 
harden our hearing, against the tendernesse of the cere- 
monious sound of words. I love a friendly society and a 
virile and constant familiarity : An amitie, which in the 

i6o Montaigne's Essayes 

earnestnesse and vigor of it's commerce, flattereth it 
selfe : as love in bitings and bloody scratchings. It is not 
sufficiently generous or vigorous, except it be contentious 
and quarrelous : If she be civilised and a skilfull artist : if 
it feare a shocke or free encounter, and have hir starting 
holes or forced by-wayes. Neque enim disputari sine 
reprehensione potest. Disputation cannot he held without 
reprehension. When I am impugned or contraried, then is 
mine attention and not mine anger, stirred up : I advance 
my selfe toward him, that doth gainesay and instruct me. 
The cause of truth, ought to be the common cause, both to ' 
one and other: What can he answer? The passion of 
choller hath already wounded his judgement : trouble, 
before reason hath seized upon it. It were both profitable 
and necessary, that the determining of our disputations, 
might be decided by way of wagers ; and that there were a 
materiall marke of our losses : that we might better 
remember and make more accompt of it : and that my boy 
might say unto me : Sir, if you call to minde ; your con- 
testation, your ignorance and your selfe-wilfulnesse, at 
severall times, cost you a hundred crownes the last yeare : 
I feast, I cherish and I embrace truth, where and in whom 
soever I finde it, and willingly and merily yeeld my selfe 
unto her, as soone as I see but her approach, though it be 
a farre-off, I lay downe my weapon and yeeld my selfe 
vanquished. And alwayes provided, one persist not or pro- 
ceede therein, with an over imperious stiffnesse or com- 
manding surlinesse; I am well pleased to be reprooved. 
And I often accommodate my selfe unto my accusers more 
by reason of civility, then by occasion of amendment : 
loving by the facility of yeelding, to gratifie and foster their 
libertie, to teach or advertise me. It is notwithstanding no 
easie matter to draw men of my times unto it. They have 
not the courage to correct, because they want the heart to 
endure correction : And ever speake with dissimulation in 
presence one of another. I take so great a pleasure to be 
judged and knowne, that it is indifferent to me, in whether 
of the two formes I be so. Mine owne imagination doth 
so often contradict and condemne it selfe, that if another 
do it, all is one unto me ; especially seeing, I give his 
reprehension no other authority then I list. But I shall 
bre^kg a §traw or fall at ods with him, that keepes himself^ 

The Third Booke Chap. VIII i6i 

SO aloft; as I know some, that will fret and chafe if their 
opinions be not believed, and who take it as an injury, yea 
and fall out with their best friends, if they will not follow 
it. And that Socrates ever smiling, made a collection of 
such contradictions as were opposed to his discourse, one 
might say, his force was cause of it, and that the advantage 
being assuredly to fall on his side, he took them as a 
subject of a new victory ; neverthelesse we see on the con- 
trary, that nothing doth so nicely yeeld our sense unto it 
as the opinion of preheminence and disdaine of the adver- 
sary. And that by reason, it rather befits the weakest to 
accept of opposition in good part, which restore and repaire 
him. Verily I seeke more the conversation of such as 
curbe me, then of those that feare me. It is an unsavory 
and hurtful pleasure, to have to doe with men, who admire 
and give us place. Antisthenes commanded his children, 
never to be beholding unto, or thanke any that should com- 
mend them. I feele my selfe more lusty and cranke for the 
victory I gaine over my selfe, when in the heate or fury of 
the combate, I perceive to bend and fall under the power of 
my adversaries reason, then I am pleased with the victory, 
I obtaine of him by his weakenesse. To conclude, I receive 
all blowes and allow all attaints given directly, how weake 
soever : but am very impatient at such as are strucken at 
randan and without order. I care but little for the matter, 
and with me opinions are all one, and the victory of the 
subject in a manner indifferent. I shall quietly contest a 
whole day, if the conduct of the controversie be followed 
with order and decorum. It is not force nor subtilty, that 
I so much require, as forme and order. The forme and 
order, dayly scene in the altercations of Shepheards, or 
contentions of shop-prentise boyes : but never amongst us ; 
If they part or give one another over, it is with incivilitie : 
and so doe we. But their wrangling, their brawling and 
impatience, cannot make them to forgoe or forget their 

j Their discourse holds on his course. If they prevent one 
another, if they stay not for, at least they understand one 
I another. A man doth ever answere sufficiently well for me, 
I if he answere what I say. But when the disputation is 
confounded and orderlesse, I quit the matter, and betake 
i me to the forme, with spight and indiscretion : and embrace 

1 62 Montaigne's Essayes 

a kinde of debating, teasty, headlong, malicious and 
imperious, whereat I afterward blush. It is impossible to 
treate quietly and dispute orderly ivitli a foole. My judge- 
ment is not onely corrupted under the hand of so imperious 
a maister, but my conscience also. Our disputations ought 
to be forbidden and punished, as other verball crimes. 
What vice raise they not, and heape up together, being 
ever swayed and commanded by choller? First we enter 
into enmity with the reasons, and then with the men. We 
learne not to dispute, except it be to contradict : and every 
man contradicting and being contradicted, it commonly 
foUoweth, that the fruit of disputing, is to loose and to 
disanull the trueth. So Plato in his common wealth, for- 
biddeth foolish, unapt and base-minded spirits, to under- 
take that exercise. To what purpose goe you about to auest 
or enquire that which is with him, who hath neither good 
pace nor proceeding of woorth? No man wrongs the 
subject, when he quits the same, for want of meanes to 
treat or mannage it. I meane not a scholasticall and artist 
meane, but intend a naturall meane, and of a sound under- 
standing. What will the end be? one goeth Eastward, 
and another Westward : They loose the principall, and 
stray it in the throng of incidents. At the end of an houres 
wrangling, they wot not what they seeke for : one is high, 
another low, and another wide. Some take hold of a word, 
some of a similitude. Some forget what was objected 
against them, so much are they engaged in the pursuite 
and thinke to follow themselves, and not you : Some find- 
ing themselves weake-backt, feare all, refuse all, and at 
the very entrance mingle the subject and confound the pur- 
pose : or in the heate of the disputation, mutinie to hold 
their peace altogether : through a spightfull ignorance, 
affecting a proud kinde of contempt, or a foolish modesty 
avoyding of contention. Provided that one strike and hit, 
he careth not how open he lye. Another compteth his 
words, and wayeth them for reasons; Another employ eth 
nothing but the advantage of his voyce and winde. Here 
one concludeth against himselfe ; here another wearyeth 
you with idle prefaces, and frivolous digressions. Another 
armeth himselfe afore hand with injuries, and seekes after a 
Dutch quarrel, to rid himselfe of the society, and shake off 
the conference of a spirit, that presseth and overbeareth 

The Third Booke Chap. VIII 163 

his. This last hath no insight at all in reason, but still 
beleagreth you with the dialecticall or logicall close of his 
clause, and ties you to the rule of his arte or forme of his 
skill. Now who doth not enter into distrust of sciences, 
and is not in doubt, whether in any necessity of life he may 
reape solid fruit of them ; if he consider the use we have of 
them? Nihil sanantibus Uteris. Since learning doth not 
cure. Who hath learnt any wit or understanding in 
Logiqiie ? Where are her jaire promises ? Nee ad melius 
vivendiim, nee ad commodius disserendum. Nether to live 
better or to dispute fitter. Shall a man heare more brabling 
or confusion in the tittle tattle of fish wives or scoulding 
sluts, then in the publike disputations of men of this pro- 
fession? I had rather my child should learne to speake in 
a Taverne, then in the schooles of well-speaking Art. Take 
you a maister of arts, and conferre with him, why doth hee 
not make us perceive his artificiall excellency, and by the 
admiration of his reasons-constancy, or with the beauty of 
his quaint order, and grace of his method, ravish silly 
women, and bleare ignorant men as we are? Why doth he 
not sway, winde and perswade us as hee list? Why should 
one so advantageous in matter and conduct, entermixe 
injuries, indiscretion and chollericke rage with his fence? 
Let him pull of his twofaced hoode, his gowne and his 
latine, let him not fill our eares with meerely beleeved 
Aristotle, you will discover and take him for one of us, 
and worse if may be. Me thinks this implication and 
entangling of speech, wherewith they doe so much impor- 
tune us, may fitly be compared unto juglers play of fast 
and loose : their nimblenesse combats and forceth our 
sences, but it nothing shaketh our belief e : Take away their 
jugling, what they doe is but base, common and slight. 
Though they be more witty and nimble spirited, they are 
not the lesse foolish, simple and unapt. I love wit, and 
honour v/isedome, as much as them that have it. And 
beeing rightly used, it is the noblest, the most forcible, yea 
and richest purchase men can make. But in such (of which 
kinde the number is infinit) that upon it establish their 
fundamentall sufficiency and v/orth : that from their wit 
refer themselves to their memory, sub aliena umbra 
latentes : reposing them under another mans protection; 
and can do nothing but by the booke (if I may be bold to 

i64 Montaigne's Essayes ^ 

say so) I hate the same, a little more then sottishnes. In 
my country^ and in my dayes^ learning and bookishneSj 
doth much mend purses, but minds nothing at all. If it 
chance to finde them empty, light and dry, it filleth, it 
over-burthens and swelleth them : a raw and indigested 
masse : if thinne, it doth easily purifie, clarifie, extenuate 
and subtilize them even unto exinanition or evacuation. 
It is a thing of a quality very neare indifferent : a most 
profitable accessory or ornament unto a vvel borne mind, 
but pernicious and hurtfully domageable unto any other. 
Or rather a thing of most precious use, that will not basely 
be gotten, nor vily possessed. In some hands a royall 
sceptre, in other some a rude mattocke. But let us proceed. 
What greater or more glorious victory can you expect, then 
teach your enemy, that hee cannot withstand you? When 
you gaine the advantage of your proposition, it is Truth 
that winneth : when you get the advantage of the order 
and conduct, it is you that winne. I am of opinion, that 
both in Plato and in Xenophon, Socrates disputeth more in 
favour of the disputers, then in grace of the disputation : 
and more to instruct Euthydemus and Protagoras with the 
knowledge of their impertinency, [then with the imperti- 
nency] of their art. He takes hold of the first matter, as he 
who hath a more profitable end, then to cleare it ; that is, 
to cleare the spirits he undertaketh to manage and to exer- 
cise. Agitation, stirring and hunting is properly belonging 
to our subject or drift ; wee are not excusable to conduct 
the same ill and impertinently, but to misse the game, and 
faile in taking, that's another matter. For wee are home 
to quest and seeke after trueth ; to possesse it belongs to a 
greater power. It is not (as Democritus said) hidden in the 
deepes of abisse : but rather elevated in infinite height of 
divine knowledge. The world is but a Schoole of inquisi- 
tion. The matter is not who shall put in, but who shall 
runne the fairest courses. As well may hee play the foole 
that speaketh truely, as hee that speaketh falsely : for wee 
are upon the manner, and not upon the matter of speaking. 
My humour is, to have as great a regard to the forme, as 
to the substance ; as much respect to the Advocat, as to the 
cause ; as Alcibiades appointed we should doe. And I dayly 
ammuse my selfe to read in authors, without care of their 
learning : therein seeking their manner, net their subject. 

The Third Booke Chap. VIII 165 

Even as I pursue the communication of some famous wit, 
not that he should teach me, but that I may know him ; and 
knowing- him (if he deserve it) I may imitate him. Every 
one may speake truely, but to speake orderly, methodically, 
wisely and sufficiently, few can doe it. So falsehood pro- 
ceeding- of ignorance doth not offend mee; ineptnesse and 
trifling doth. I have broken off divers bargaines, that 
would have beene very commodious unto me, by the im- 
pertinency of their contestation, with whom I did bargaine. 
!I am not mooved once a yeare, with the faults or oversights 
of those, over whom I have power : but touching the point 
of the sottishnesse and foolishnes of their allegations, 
excuses, and defences, rude and brutish, we are every day 
ready to goe by the eares. They neither understand what 
is said nor wherefore, and even so they answer ; a thing 
able to make one despaire. I feele not my head to shocke 
hard but by being hit with another. And I rather enter into 
composition with my peoples vices, then with their rash- 
nesse, importunity and foolishnesse. Let them doe lesse, 
provided they be capable to doe. You live in hope to 
enflame their will : But of a blocke there is nothing to be 
hoped for, nor any thing of worth to he enjoyed. Now, 
what if I take things otherwise then they are? So it may 
bee : And therefore I accuse my impatience. And first I 
hould, that it is equally vicious in him, who is in the right, 
as in him, that is in the wrong : For, it is ever a kinde of 
tyrannical! sharpenesse, not to be able to endure a forme 
different from his : and verily, since there is not a greater 
fondnesse, a more constant gullishnesse, or more hetero- 
clite insipidity then for one to move or vex himselfe at the 
fondnesse, at the gullishnesse, or insipidity of the world : 
For it principally formalizeth and moveth us against our 
selves : and that Philosopher of former ages should never 
ihave wanted occasion to weepe, so long as he had con- 
sidered himselfe. Miso, one of the seaven sages (a man of a 
Timonian disposition and Democraticall humour) being 
demanded, where-at he laughed alone; he answered, be- 
cause I laugh alone ; How many follies doe I speake and 
answer every day, according to my selfe ; and then how 
much more frequent according to others? And if I bite 
mine owne lips at them, what ought others to doe? In 
fine, wee must live with the quiche^ and let the water runne 

1 66 Montaigne's Essay es 

under the bridge^ without any care, or at least without 
alteration to us. In good sooth, why meet we sometimes 
with crooked, deformed and in body mishapen men, with- 
out falling into rage and discontent, and cannot endure 
to light-upon a froward, skittish, and ill-ranged spirit, 
without falling into anger and vexation? This vicious 
austerity is rather in the Judge, then in the fault. Let us 
ever have that saying of Plato in our mouthes : What I 
finde unwholsome, is it not to he unhealthy my selfe? Am 
not I in fault my selfe? May not mine owne advertisement 
he retorted against my selfe? Oh wise and divine restraint, 
that curbeth the most universall and common error of men : 
Not onely the reproches, wee doe one to another, but our 
reasons, our arguments and matter controversed, are ordi- 
narily retortable unto us : and wee pinch our selves up in 
our owne armes. Whereof antiquity hath left me divers 
grave examples. It was ingeniously spoken and fit to the 
purpose, by him that first devised the same. 

Sterctis ciiique suuni bene olet. 

Eras. Chil. iii. cent. iv. ad. 2. 
Ev'ry mans ordure well, To his owne sense doth smell. 

Our eyes see nothing backward. A hundred times a day 
we mocke our selves, upon our neighbours subject, and 
detest some defects in others, that are much more apparant 
in us ; yea and admire them with a strange impudency and 
unheedinesse. Even yesterday, I chanced to see a man of 
reasonable understanding, who no lesse pleasantly then 
justly flouted at anothers fond fashion, and yet upon every 
silly occasion doth nothing but molest all men with the 
impertinent bedrowle and register of his pedigrees, gene- 
alogies and alliances, more then halfe false and wrested in ; 
(for it is the manner of such people, commonly to undertake 
such foolish discourses, whose qualities are more doubtfull 
and lesse sure) who if he had impartially considered and 
looked upon himselfe, should doubtlesse have found him- 
selfe no lesse intemperate, indiscreet, and tedious, in pub- 
lishing and extolling the prerogative of his wives pedigree 
and descent. Oh importunate presumption, wherewith the 
wife seeth her selfe armed by the hands of her own hus- 
band. If he understand Latin, a man should say to him, 

Age si hcec non insanit satis sua spotite, instiga. 

Ter. And. act. iv. sc. 2. 

The Third Booke Chap. VIII 167 

Goe too, if of her owne accord before. 

She were not mad enough, provoke her more. 

I say not, that none should accuse, except liee hee spot- 
lesse in himself e: For then none might accuse : no not spot- 
lesse in the same kinde of fault. But my meaning is, 
that our judgem.ent charging and blaming another, of 
whom there is then question, spareth us nothing, of an 
inward and severe jurisdiction. It is an office of charity, 
that he who cannot remove a vice from himselfe, should 
neverthelesse endevour to remove it from others, where it 
may have a lesse hurtftdl and froward seed. Nor doe I 
deeme it a fit answer, for him that warneth me of my 
fault, to say, the same is likewise in him. But what of 
that? Well meaning warning is alwayes true and profit- 
able. Had we a good and sound nose, our owne ordure 
should be more unsavory unto our selves, forasmuch as it 
is our owne. And Socrates is of opinion, that he, who 
should find himselfe, and his son, and a stranger guilty 
of any violence or injury, ought first begin by himselfe, 
and present himselfe to the sentence and condemnation of 
the law, and for his owne discharge and acquital implore 
the assistance of the executioners hand : secondly for his 
son, and lastly for the stranger : If this precept take his 
tune somewhat too high : it should at lest be first pre- 
sented to the punishment of ones owne conscience. Our 
senses are our proper and first judges, who distinguish 
not things, but by externall accidents; and no marvell, if 
in all parts of the service belonging to our society, there 
is so perpetuall and universall commixture of ceremonies 
and superficial! apparances : so that the best and most 
effectual part of policies, consists in that. It is man with 
whom we have alwayes to doe, whose condition is marvel- 
lously corporall. Let those, who in these latter dayes have 
so earnestly laboured, to frame and establish unto us, an 
exercise of Religion and Service of God, so contemplative 
and immateriall, wonder nothing at all, if some be found, 
who thinke, it would have escaped and moultred away 
betweene their fingers, if it had not held and continued 
amongst us, as a marke, a title and instrument of division 
and faction, more then by it selfe. As in conference: 
The gravity, the gowne and the fortune of him that 
speaketh, doth often adde and winne credit unto vaine, 

1 68 Montaigne's Essayes 

trifling and absurd discourses. It is not to bee presumed, 
that one of these gowne-CIarkes or quoifed Serjants, so 
followed, and so redoubted, have not some sufficiency 
within him, more then popular : and that a man so sullen 
so grim and so disdainfull, to whom so many commissions, 
charges and authorities are given, be not more sufficient 
and worthy, then another, who saluteth and vaileth to him 
so farre-off, and whom no man employeth. Not onely the 
words, but the powtings of 'such people, are considered 
and registred, every one applying himselfe to give them 
some notable and solide interpretation. If they stoope to 
common conference, and that a man affoord or shew them 
other then reverence and approbation, they overthrow you 
with the autority of their experience : they have read, they 
have heard, scene and done goodly things, you are cleane 
overwhelmed with examples. I would faine tell them, 
that the fruit of a Chirurgions experience, is not the story 
of his practises, or the remembrance that hee hath cured 
foure who had the Plague, and healed as many that had 
the Goute, except hec know and have the wit, from his 
use and experience, to draw a methode how to frame his 
judgements and by his skill and practise make us perceave, 
hee is become wiser in his art. As in a consort of instru- 
ments, one heares not severally a Lute, a Vyol, a Flute, 
or a paire of Virginalles, but a perfectfull harmony : the 
assembly and fruit of all those instruments in one. If 
their travels and charges have amended them, it is in the 
production of their understanding to make it appeare. 
It sufficeth not to number the experiments ; they ought to 
bee well poised and orderly sorted : and to extract the 
reasons and conclusions they containc, they should be 
well disgested and thorowly distilled. There were never 
so many Historians. It is ever good and profitable to 
heare them : for out of the magazin of their memory, they 
store us with divers good instructions and commendable 
documents. Verily a chiefe part, for the assistance of our 
life. But now a dayes wee seeke not after that, but rather 
whether the Collectors and reporters of them be praise 
worthy and directing themselves. I hate al manner of 
tyranny, both verball and effectuall. I willingly band and 
oppose my selfe against these vaine and frivolous circum- 
stances, which by the sences delude our judgement; and 

The Third Booke Chap. VIII 169 

holding my selfe aloofe of from these extraordinary great- 
nesses, have found, that for the most part, they are but 
men as others be : 

Rarus enim ferme sensus communis in ilia 
Fortuna. — Juven. Sat. viii. 73. 

For common sense is seldome found 
In fortunes that so much abound. 

They are peradventure esteemed and discerned lesse then 
they bee, forsomuch as they undertake more, and so shew 
themselves ; they answer not the charge they have taken. 
There must necessarily he more vigour and strength in 
the hearer, then in the burden. He who is not growne to 
his full strength, leaves you to ghesse, whether he have 
any left him beyond that, or have beene tried to the utmost 
of his pov/er. He who fainteth under his burden, be- 
wrayeth his measure and the weaknesse of his shoulders. 
Thats the reason, why amongst the wiser sort, there are 
so many foolish and unapt minds scene, and more then of 
others. They might happily have beene made good hus- 
bandmen, thriving merchants, and plodding artificers. 
Their naturall vigour was cut out to this proportion. 
Learning is a matter of great consequence : they faint 
under it. To enstall and distribute, so rich and so power- 
full a matter, and availefully to employ the same, their 
wit hath neither sufficient vigour, nor conduct enough to 
manage it. It hath no prevailing vertue but in a strong 
nature ; and they are very rare : and such as are but weake 
(saith Socrates) corrupt and spoilingly deface the dignity 
of Philosophy, in handling the same. She seemeth faulty 
and unprofitable, being ill placed and unorderly disposed. 
Loe how they spoyle and entangle themselves. 

Hutnani qualis simulator simius oris, 
Quern puer arridens, pretioso stamine serum 
Velavit, nudasque nates ac terga reliquit, 
Ludibrium mensis. — Claud. Eutrop. i. 303. 

Such counterfets as Apes are of mans face, ^v. 

Whom children sporting" at, featly incase 

In costly coates, but le^ve his backeside bare 

For men to laugh at, when they feasting are. 

; To those likewise, who sway ^iid command us, and have 

! the world in their owne hand<^, 'tis not sufficient to have 

^a common understandingf^ and tg !}§ gj^je |o dge^ what we 

170 Montaigne's Essayes 

can effect. They are farre beneath us, if they be not much 
above us. As the}^ promise more, so owe they more. 
And therefore silence is in them, not onely a countenance 
of respect and gravitie, but often of thrift and profit : 
Megahysus going to visite Apelles in his worke-house, 
stood still a good while without speaking one word, and 
then began to discourse of his workes. Of whom he 
received this rude and nipping check : So long as thou 
'heldest thy peace, by reason of thy garish clothes, goodly 
chaines and stately pompe, thou seemedst to he some 
worthy gallant: hut now thou hast spoken, there is not the 
simplest hoy of my shop, hut scorneth and contemns thee. 
That great state of his, those rich habilliments, and goodly 
traine, did not permit him to be ignorant with a popular 
ignorance, and to speake impertinently of painting. He 
should have kept mute, and concealed his externall and 
presuming suflficiency. Unto how many fond and shallow 
minds, hath in my dayes, a sullen, cold and silent counten- 
ance, served as a title of wisedome and capacity? Dig- 
nities, charges and places, are necessarily given, more by 
fortune then by merit : and they are often to blame, that 
for it lay the blame on Kings. Contrariwise it is a wonder, 
that being so untoward, they should therein have so good 
lucke : Principis est virtus maxima, nosse suos. Chief e 
vertue it is knowne. In Kings to know their owne. For 
Nature hath not given them so perfect a sight, that it 
might extend it selfe and overlooke so many people, to dis- 
cerne their pre-excellency ; and enter their breasts, where 
lodgeth the knowledge of our will and better worth. It 
is JDy conjectures, and as it were groping they must try 
us : by our race, alliances, dependences, riches, learning, 
and the peoples voice : all overweake arguments. He that 
could devise a meane, how men might he judged hy law, 
chosen by reason, and advanced by desert, should establish 
a perfect forme of a commonwealth. Yea but hee hath 
brought that great businesse unto a good passe. It is to 
say something : but not to say sufficiently. For, this sen- 
tence is justly received, That counsels ought not to he 
judged hy the events. The Carthaginians were wont to 
punish the ill counsels of their Captaines, although cor- 
rected by some fortunate successe. And the Roman 
people hath often refused trumphes to famous, succesfull. 

The Third Booke Chap. VIII 171 

and most profitable victories, forsomuch as the Generals 
conduct, answeared not his good fortune. It is commonly 
perceived by the worlds actions, that fortune, to teach us, 
how farre hir power extendeth unto all things ; and who 
taketh pleasure to abate our presumption, having not beene 
able to make silly men wise, she hath made them fortun- 
ate, in envy of vertue : And commonly gives hir selfe to 
favour executions, when as their complot and devise is 
meerly hirs. Whence we dayly see, that the simplest 
amongst us, compasse divers great and important affaires, 
both publike and private. And as Sirannez the Persian 
Prince, answered those, who seemed to wonder how his 
negotiations succeeded so ill, his discourses being so wise : 
That he luas onely maister of his discourses y hut fortune 
mistris of his affaires successe. These may answer the 
like ; but with a contrary bias. Most things of the world 
are made by themselves. 

Fata viam inveniunt. — Vir. Ain. iii. 356. 
Fates finde and know, which way to goe. 

The issue doth often aucthorize a simple conduct. Our 
interposition is in a manner nothing els but an experience, 
and more commonly a consideration of use and example 
then of reason. And as one amazed at the greatnesse of 
some businesse, I have sometimes understood by those 
who had atchieved them, both their motives and addresses : 
wherein I have found but vulgar advises : and the most 
vulgar and used, are peradventure the surest and most 
commodious for the practise, if not for the shew. And 
v>^hat if the plainest reasons are the best seated : the mean- 
est, basest and most beaten, are best applied unto affaires? 
To maintaine the authority of our Kings counsell, it is not 
requisite, that prophane persons should be partakers of it, 
and looke further into it, then from the first barre. To 
uphold it's reputation, it should be reverenced upon credit, 
and at full. My consultation doth somev/hat roughly hew 
the matter, and by it's first shew, lightly consider the 
same : the maine and chiefe point of the worke, I am wont 
to resigne to heaven. 

Permitte divis ccctera. — Hor. i. Od. ix. 9 

How all the [rest] shall goe, 
Give leave to Gods to know. 

172 Montaigne's Essayes 

Good and bad fortune, are in my conceit two soveraigne 
powers. 'Tis folly to thinke, that humane wisedome may 
act the full part of fortune. And vaine is his enterprise, 
that presumeth to embrace both causes and consequences, 
and lead the progresse of his fact by the hand. And above 
all, vainest in military deliberations. There was never 
more circumspection and military wisedome, then is some- 
times scene amongst us : May it be that man feareth to lose 
himselfe by the way, reserving himselfe to the catastrophe 
of that play? I say moreover, that even our wisedome 
and consultation for the most part followeth the conduct 
of hazard. My will and my discourse, is sometimes 
mooved by one ayre, and sometimes by another : and there 
be many of these motions, that are governed without me. 
My reason hath dayly impulsions and casuall agitations : 

Vertuntur species animoruni, et pectora motus 
Nunc alios, alios durn nubila ventus agehat, 
Concipiunt. — ViR. Georg. iv. 20. 

The showes of mindes are chang'd, and brests conceave 

At one time motions, which anon they leave. 

And others take againe, As winds drive clouds amaine. 

Let but a man looke who are the mightiest in Cities and 
who thrive best in their businesse : he shall commonly find, 
they are the siliest and poorest in wit. It hath hapned to 
simple women, to weake children, and to mad men, to 
command great states, as well as the most sufficient 
Princes. And the gullish or shallow-pated (saith Thuci- 
dides) doe more ordinarily come unto them, then the wisest 
and subtilest. We ascribe their good fortunes effects, 
unto their prudence. 

— ut qtiisque fortiina ntitnr, 
Ita prcecellit: atque exinde sapere ilium omnes dicimus. 
Plau. Pse. act. v. so. 4. 

As men their fortune use, so they excell, 
And so we say, they are wise and doe well. 

Wherefore I say well, that howsoever, events are but 
weake testimonies of our worth and capacity. I was now 
upon this point, that we need but looke upon a man 
advanced to dignity ; had we but three daies before knowne 
him to bee of little or no worth at all : an image of great- 
nesse, and an Idea of sufficiency, doth insensibly glide 
and creepe into our opinions ; and we perswade our selves, 

The Third Booke Chap. VIII 173 

that increasing in state, and credit, and followers, hee is 
also increased in merit. We judge of him, not according 
to his worth ; but after the maner of casting-counters, ac- 
cording to the prerogative of his ranke. But let fortune 
turne her wheele, let him againe decline and come down 
amongst the vulgar multitude ; every one with admiration 
enquireth of the cause, and how he was raised so high. 
Good Lord is that he? will some say. What? knew he no 
m^ore? had he no other skill when he was so aloft? Are 
Princes pleased with so little? Now in good sooth we 
were in very good hands, will others say. It is a thing 
my selfe have often scene in my dayes. Yea the very 
maske of greatnesse, or habit of Majesty, represented in 
Tragedies, doth in some sort touch and beguile us. The 
thing I adore in Kings, is the throng of their adorators. 
All inclination and submission is due unto them, except 
the mindes. My reason is not framed to bend or stoope : 
my knees are. Melanthius being demanded, what he 
thought of Dionysius his tragedy, answered I have not 
scene it, so much was it over-clouded with language. So 
should those say, that judge of great mens discourses : I 
have not understood his discourse, so was it overdarkned 
with gravity, with greatnes and with Majesty. Antis- 
thenes one day perswaded the Athenians, to command that 
their asses should as well be employed about the manuring 
of grounds, as were their horses : who answered him that 
the asse was not borne for such service : That's all one 
(quoth he) there needs but your allowance for it : for the 
most ignorant and incapable men you imploy about the 
directing of your warres, leave not to become out of hand 
most worthy, onely because you employ them. Where- 
upon depends the custome of so many men, who canonize 
the King, whom they have made amongst them, and are 
not contented to honor him, unlesse they also adore him., 
Those of Mexico^ after the ceremonies of his consecration 
are finished, dare no more looke him in the face : but as 
if by his Royalty, they had deified him, they afterward 
deeme him to bee a God : amongst the oathes, they make 
him sweare to maintaine their ReligioUy to keepe their 
Lawes, to defend their liberties, to he valiant, just and 
dehonaire ; he is also sworne to make the Sun march in his 
accustomed light : in time of need to cause the clouds 

174 Montaigne's Essayes 

showre downe their waters ; to enforce rivers to runne in 
their right wonted chanels ; and compell the earth to pro- 
duce all necessary things for his people. I differ from this 
common fashion, and more distrust sufticiency, when I 
see it accompanied with the greatnes of fortune, and ap- 
plauded by popular commendation. Wee should heedfully 
marke, of what consequence it is, for a man to speake in 
due time, to choose fit opportunity, to breake or change 
his discourse with a magistrale authority : to defend him- 
selfe from others oppositions, by a nod or moving of the 
head, by a smile, a shrug or a silence, before an assembly, 
trembling with reverence and respect. A man of mon- 
strous fortune, chancing to shoote his boult, and give his 
opinion upon a frivolous subject, which but jestingly was 
tossed too and fro at his table, began ever thus; he can- 
not choose but be a Iyer, or an ignorant asse, that will say 
otherwise then, etc. Follow this Philosophical! point, out 
commeth a dagger, and there is some mischiefe. Loe here 
another advertism.ent ; from whence I reape good use : 
Which is, that in disputations and conferences, all good; 
seeming words, ought not presently to be allowed and 
accepted. Most men are rich of a strange sufficiency. 
Some may chance to speake a notable saying, to give a 
good answere, to use a witty sentence, and to propound 
it, without knowing the force of it. That a man holdeth 
not all he borroweth, may peradventure be verified in my 
selfe. A man should not alwayes yeeld, what truth or 
goodnes soever it seemeth to containe. A man must either 
combat the same in good earnest, or draw back, under 
colour of not understanding the matter : to try on all parts, 
how it is placed in it's author. It may fortune, that we 
shut our selves up and further the stroake, beyond its 
bearing. I have sometimes in necessity and throng of 
the combat, employed some reviradoes or turnings, which 
beyond my intent, have prooved false offers. I but gave 
them by tale, and they were received by waight. Even as 
vi'hen I contend with a vigourous man ; I please my selfe 
to anticipate his conclusions : I ease him the labour to 
interpret himselfc, I endevour to prevent his imperfect 
and yet budding imagination : the order and pertinency of 
his understanding forwarneth and menaceth a farre off : 
of these others I do cleane contrary ; a man must under- 

The Third Booke Chap. VIII 175 

Stand or presuppose nothing- but by them. If they judg-e 
in g-enerall termes : This is good, thaVs naught: and that 
they jump right; see whether it be fortune, that jumpeth 
for them. Let them a little circumscribe and restraine 
their sentence wherefore it is, and which way it is. These 
universall judgements, I see so ordinarily say nothing at 
all. They are men, that salute a whole multitude, in 
throng and troupe. Such as have true knowledge of the 
same, salute and marke it by name and particularly. But 
it is a hazardous enterprise. Whence I have oftner [then] 
daily scene, to happen, that wits weakly grounded, intend- 
ing- to shew themselves ingenious, by observing in the 
reading- of some work, the point of beauty : stay their 
admiration with so bad a choise, that in lieu of teaching 
us the authors excellency, they shew us their owne ignor- 
ance. This maner of exclamation is safe : Loe tiiis is 
very excellent: Surely this is very good, having heard a 
whole page of Virgil. And that's the shift whereby the 
subtil! save themselves. But to undertake to follow him 
by shrugs and crinches, and with an expresse selected 
judgement to gfoe about to marke which way a good 
author surmounteth himselfe : pondring his words, his 
phrases, his inventions, and his severall vertues one after 
another : Aivay, goe by: It is not for you. Videndiim est 
non modo, quid quisque, loquatur, sed etiani quid quisque 
sentiat, atque etiam qua de causa quisque sentiat. Man 
must take heed not onely what he speakes, but what he 
tJiinkes, and also why he thinkes. I dayly heare fooles 
utter unfoolish words, Speake they any good thing : let 
us understand whence they know it, how farre they under- 
stand and whereby they hold it. Wee helpe them to em-^ 
ploy this fine word and this g-oodly reason, which they 
possesse not, and have but in keeping : they have happily 
produced the same by chance and at randan, our selves 
bring it in credit and esteeme with them. You lend them 
your hand: what to doe? [They] konne you no thankes, 
and thereby become more simple, and more foolish. Doe 
not second them : let them goe-on : they will handle this 
matter as men affraid to bewray themselves, they dare 
neither change her seate or light, nor enter into it. Shake 
it never so little, it escapeth them ; [they] quit the same 
how strong^ and goodly soever it be. They are handsome 

176 Montaigne's Essayes 

weapons, but ill hafted. How often have I scene the ex- 
perience of it? Now if you come to expound and confirme 
them, they take hold of you, and presently steale the ad- 
vantage of your interpretation from you. It was that 
which I was about to say : It was just my conceit : If I 
have not so exprest it, it is but for want of speech. Handy- 
dandy, what is this? Malice it selfe must be employed to 
correct this fierce rudenesse. Hegesias his position, that 
a man must neither hate nor accuse, but instruct, hath some 
reason else where. But here, it is injustice to assist, and 
inhumanity to raise him up againe, that hath nothing to 
doe with it, and is thereby of lesser worth. I love to have 
them entangle and bemire themselves more then they are, 
and if it be possible, to wade so deepe into the gulphe of 
error, that in the end they may recall and advise them- 
selves. Sottishnesse and distraction of the senses, is no 
disease curable by a tricke of advertisment. And we may 
fitly say of this reparation, as Cyrus answered one, who 
urged him to exhort his army in the nicke when the battell 
should begin : That men are not made warlike and courag- 
ious in the field, by an excellent oration; no more then one. 
becommeth a ready cunning Musition, by hearing a good 
so7ig. They are prentisages that must be learned a fore- 
hand, by long and constant institution. This care we owe 
to ours, and this assiduity of correction and instruction : 
but to preach to him that first passeth by, or sway the 
ignorance or fondnesse of him we meete next, is a custome 
I cannot well away with. I seldome use it, even in such 
discourses as are made to me ; and I rather quit all, then 
come to these far-fetcht and magistrale instructions. My 
humour is no more proper to speake, then to write, namely 
for beginners. But in things commonly spoken, or 
amongst others, how false and absurd soever I judge 
them, I never crosse or gibe them, neither by word nor 
signe. Further, nothing doth more spight me in sottish- 
nesse then that it pleaseth it selfe more, then any reason 
may justly bee satisfied. It is ill lucke that wisedome for- 
bids you to please and trust your selfe, and sends you 
alwayes away discontented and fearefull : whereas wilful- 
nesse and rashnesse, fill their guests with gratulation and 
assurance. It is for the simplest and least able, to looke 
at other men over their shoulders, ever returning from 

The Third Booke Chap. VIII 177 

the combat full of glory and gladnesse. And most often 
also, this outreculdance of speech and cheerfulnesse of 
countenance, giveth them the victory over the by-standers, 
who are commonly weake, and incapable to judge a right 
and discerne true advantage. Obstinacy and earnestnesse 
in opinion, is the surest tryall of folly and selfe conceit. 
Is there any thing so assured, so resolute, so disdainful!, 
so contemplative, so serious and so grave, as the Asse ; 
May we not commixe with the title of conference and com- 
munication, the sharpe and interrupted discourses, which 
mirth and familiarity introduceth amongst friends, plea- 
santly dallying and wittily jesting one with another? An 
exercise, to which my naturall blithnesse makes me very 
apt. And if it be not so wire-drawne and serious, as this 
other exercise I now speake of, yet is it no lesse sharpe or 
ingenious, no lesse profitable, as it seemed to Lycurgus. 
For my regard I bring more liberty then wit unto it, and 
have therin more lucke then invention : but I am perfect 
in sufferance; for I endure the revenge, not onely sharpe 
but also indiscreete, without any alteration. And to any 
assault given me, if I have not presently or stoutly where- 
with to worke mine owne amends, I ammuse not my selfe 
to follow that ward or point, with a tedious and selfe-wil'd 
contestation, enclining to pertinacy : I let it passe, and 
hanging downe mine eares, remit my selfe to a better houre 
to right my selfe. He is not a marchant that ever gaineth. 
Most men change both voice and countenance, where might 
faileth them : And by an importunate rage, instead of 
avenging themselves, they accuse their weaknesse and 
therewith bewray their impacience. In this jollity we now 
and then harpe upon some secret strings of our imperfec- 
tions ; which setled or considerate we cannot touch without 
offence : and we profitably enter-advertize our selves of our 
defects. There are other handy-sports indiscreete, fond 
and sharpe, just after the French maner ; which I hate 
mortally : I have a tender and sensible skinne : I have in 
my daies scene two Princes of our Royall blood brought 
to their graves for it. It is an ill seeming thing for men^ 
in jest to hitte, or in sport to strike one another. In 
other matters, when I shall judge of any body, I demaund 
of him, how farre or how much he is contented with 
him^elfe ; how farre his speach or his worke pleaseth 

178 Montaigne's Essayes 

him. I will avoyd these goodly excuses, / did it hut in 

Ahlatum mediis opus est incudihtis isiud. 

Ovio. Trist. i. Eleg. vi. 29. 
This worke away was brought, 
Halfe hammered, halfe wrought. 

I ivas not an houre there : I have not seene him since. 
Now I say, let us then leave these partes, g"Ive me one 
that may represent you whole and entire, by which it may 
please you to be measured by another. And then ; what 
finde you fairest in your owne worke? is it that or this 
part? the grace or the matter, the invention, the judge- 
ment, or the learning? For I ordinarily perceive, that a 
man misseth as much in judging of his owne worke, as of 
anothers. Not onely by the affection, he therein imployeth ; 
but because he hath not sufficiencie to know, nor skill to 
distinguish it. The worke of it's owne power and fortune, 
may second the worke-man, and transport him beyond his 
invention and knowledge. As for m,e, I judge not the 
worth of anothers worke more obscurely then of minei 
owne : and place my Essayes sometime lowe, sometimes, 
high, very unconstantly and doubtfully. There are divers 
bookes profitable by reason of their subjects of which the 
author reapeth no commendations at all : And good bookes, 
as also good w^orkes, which make the workeman ashamed. 
I shall write the manner of our bankets, and the fashion 
of our garments, and I shall write it with an ill grace : I 
shall publish the Edicts of my time, and the letters of 
Princes that publikely passe from hand to hand : I' shall 
make an abridgement of a good booke (and every abridge- 
ment of a good booke, is a foole abridged) which booke 
shall come to be lost, and such like things. Posterity 
shall reape singular profit by such compositions : but I, 
what honour except by my good fortune? Many famous 
bookes are of this condition. 

When I read Philip de Commines, (now divers yeares 
since) a right excellent author, I noted this speech in him, 
as a saying not vulgar : That a man should carefully take 
heed, how he do his master so great or much service, thai 
he thereby he kindred from finding his due recompence 
for it. I should have commended the invention, but nol 
him. After that I found it in Tacitus: Beneficia eo usque 

The Third Booke Chap. VIII 179 

lata sunty dum videntiir exolvi posse, uhi multuni ante' 
venere pro gratia odium redditur (Corn. Tacit. Annal. iv.). 
Benefits are so long wel-come, as wee thinke they may he 
requited, but when they much exceede all power of recom- 
pence, hate is returned for thankes and good will. And 
Seneca very stoutly. Nain qui putat esse turpe non red- 
dere, non vult esse cui reddat (Sen. Epist. Ixxxi. f.). For 
he that thinkes it a shame not to requite, coidd wish, he 
were not whom he shoidd requite. Q. Cicero with a looser 
byas : Qui se non putat satisfacere, amicus esse nullo 
modo potest (Cicero). He that thinkes he doth not satis- 
fie, can by no meanes be a friend. The subject accordingf 
as it is, may make a man be judged learned, wise and 
memorious : but to judge in him the parts most his owne 
and best worthy, together with the force and beautie of 
his minde ; 'tis very requisite we know first what is his 
owne, and what not : and in what is not his owne, what 
we are beholding to him for, in consideration of his choise, 
disposition, ornament, and language he hath thereunto 
furnished. What if he have borrowed the matter and em- 
paired the forme? as many times it commeth to passe. 
Wee others that have little practise with bookes, are 
troubled with this, that when wee meet with any rare or 
quaint invention in a new Poet, or forcible argument in a 
Preacher, we dare not yet commend them, untill we have 
taken instruction of some wise man, whether that part be 
their owne or another bodies. And untill then I ever 
stand upon mine owne guard. I come lately from reading 
over, (and that without any intermission) the story of 
Tacitus (a matter not usuall with me ; it is now twenty 
yeares, I never spent one whole houre together upon a 
booke) and I have now done it, at the instant request of 
a gentleman, whom France holdeth in high esteeme ; as 
well for his owne worth and valour as for a constant forme 
of sufficiencie and goodnes, apparantly scene in divers 
brethren of his. I know no author, that in a publike 
register entermixeth so many considerations of manners, 
and particular inclinations. And I deeme cleane contrary, 
to what hee thinketh : who being especially to follow the 
lives of the Emperours of his time, so divers and extreme 
in all manner of forme, so many notable and great actions, 
which, namely their cruelty produced in their subjects : he 

i8o Montaigne's Essayes 

had a more powerfull and attractive matter, to discourse 
and relate, then if hee had beene to speake or treat of 
battels and universall agitations. So that I often find him 
barren, sleightlie running-over those glorious deaths, as if 
he feared to attediate and molest us with their multitude 
and continuance. This forme of historic is much more 
profitable : Puhlike innovations, depend more on the con- 
duct of fortune: private on ours. It is rather a judge- 
ment, then a deduction of an history : therein are more 
precepts, then narrations : It is not a booke to reade, but 
a volume to study and to learne : It is so fraught with 
sentences, that right or wrong they are hudled up : It is a 
seminary of morall, and a magazine of pollltique discourses, 
for the provision and ornament of those, that possesse 
some place in the managing of the world. He ever 
pleadeth with solid and forcible reasons ; after a sharpe 
and witty fashion : following affected and laboured stile of 
his age : They so much loved to raise and puffe themselves 
up, that where they found neither sharpenesse nor sub- 
tility in things, they would borrow it of wordes. He 
draweth somewhat neare to Senecas writing. I deeme 
TacituSy more sinnowy, Seneca more sharpe. His service 
is more proper to a crazed troubled state, as is ours at 
this present : you would often say, he pourtrayeth and 
toucheth us to the quicke. Such as doubt of his faith, 
doe manyfestly accuse themselves to hate him for some- 
what else. His opinions be sound, and enclining to the 
better side of the Romane affaires. I am neverthelesse 
something greeved, that he hath more bitterly judged of 
Pompey, then honest mens opinions, who lived and con- 
versed with him, doe well allow off : to have esteemed him 
altogether equall to Marius and Silla, saving that he was 
more close and secret. His intention and canvasing for 
the government of affaires, hath not beene exempted from 
ambition, nor cleared from revenge : and his owne friends 
have feared, that had he gotten the victory. It would have 
transported him beyond the limits of reason ; but not unto 
an unbridled and raging measure. There is nothing in his' 
life that hath threatned us with so manyfest a cruelty, and 
expresse tyranny. Yet must not the suspltlon be counter- 
poised to the evidence : So doe not I beleeve him. 

That his narrations are natural! and right, might hap- 

The Third Booke Chap. VIII i8i 

plly be argued by this : That they doe not alwaies exactly 
apply themselves to the conclusions of his judgement; 
which hee pursueth according to the course he hath taken, 
often beyond the matter he sheweth us ; which he hath 
dained to stoope unto with one onely glance. He needeth 
no excuse to have approoved the religion of his times, 
according to the lawes which commanded him, and beene 
ignorant of the true and perfect worship of God. That's 
his ill fortune, not his defect. I have principally considered 
his judgement, whereof I am not every where throughly 
resolved. As namely these words contayned in the letter, 
which Tiherius being sicke and aged, sent to the Senate. 
What shall I write to you tny masters, or how shall I write 
to you, or what shall I not write to you in these times? 
May the gods and goddesses loose me worse, then I dayly 
Meele my selfe to perish, if I can tell. I cannot perceive why 
be should so certainly apply them unto a stinging remorse, 
tormenting the conscience of Tiberius: At least when my 
selfe was in the same plight, I saw it not. That hath like- 
wise seemed somwhat demisse and base unto me, that 
having said, how he had exercised a certaine honourable 
magistracy in Rome, he goeth about to excuse himselfe, 
that it is not for ostentation, he spake it : This one tricke, 
namely in a minde of his quality, seemeth but base and 
ourse unto me : For, not to dare speake roundly of him- 
selfe, accuseth some want of courage : A constant, resolute 
and high judgement, and which judgeth soundly and 
surely, every hand while useth his owne examples, as well 
as of any strange thing ; and witnesseth as freely of him- 
selfe as of a third person : A man must overgoe these 
populare reasons of civility, in favour of truth and liberty. 
I dare not onely speake of my selfe : but speake alone of 
my selfe. I stragle when I write of any other matter, and 
digresse from my subject. I doe not so [injdiscreetly love 
my selfe, and am [not] so tied and commixt to my selfe, 
as that I can not distinguish and consider my selfe a part : 
as a neighbour, as a tree ; it is an equall error, either not 
Ito see how farre a mans worth stretcheth, or to say more 
Df it then one seeth good cause. We owe more love to 
God, then to our selves, and know him lesse, and yet we 
talke our fill of him. If his writings relate any thing of 
tiis conditions he was a notable man, upright and courag- 

1 82 Montaigne's Essayes 

ious, not with a superstitious vertue, but Philosophical! 
and generous : He may be found over-hardy in his testi- 
monies. As where he holdeth, that a souldier carrying a 
burden of wood, his hands were so stifly benummed with 
cold that they stucke to his wood, and remained so fast 
unto it, that as dead flesh they were divided from his 
armes. In such cases I am wont to yeeld unto the author-| 
ity of so great testimonies. Where he also saith, thatj 
Vespasian by the favour of the God Serapis, healed in the 
citie of Alexandria a blinde woman, with the rubbing and, 
anointing her eyes with fasting spettle, and some other 
miracles, which I remember not well now, he doth it by 
the example and devoire of all good historians. They 
keepe a register of important events : among publike acci- 
dents, are allso popular reports and vulgar opinions. It is 
their part to relate common conceits, but not to sway 
them. This part belongeth to Divines and Philosophers, 
directors of consciences. Therefore that companion of his, 
and as great a man as hee, said most wisely : Equidem 
plura transcribo quarn credo: Nam nee affirmare sustineo, 
de quihus diihito, nee sub ducere quce accepi: I write out 
more then I beleeve : for neither can I abide to affirm what 
I doubt of, nor to withdrawe what I have heard: And that 
other : Hcec neque affirmare neque refellere operce precium 
est: fanice rerum standum est. It is not worth the talke^ 
or to avouch, or to refuse these things wee must stand to 
report. And writing in an age, wherein the beliefe of 
prodigies began to decline, he saith, he would notwith- 
standing not omit to insert in his Annals, and give footing 
to a thing received and allowed of so many honest men, 
and with so great reverence by antiquity. It is very well 
said : That they yeelde us the history, more according as 
they receave, then according as they esteeme it. I who 
am king of the matter I treat of, and am not to give 
accompt of it to any creature living, doe neverthelesse not 
altogether beleeve my selfe for it. I often hazard upon 
certaine outslips of my minde, for which I distrust my 
selfe ; and certaine verball wilie-beguilies, whereat I shake 
mine eares : but I let them runne at hab or nab ; I see some 
honour them selves with such like things : 'Tis not for me 
alone to judge of them. I present my selfe standing and 
lying, before and behinde, on the right and left side, and 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 183 

in all by naturall motions. Spirits alike in force, are not 
ever alike in application and taste. Loe here what my 
memory doth in grose, and yet very uncertainely present 
unto me of it. In breefe, all judgments are weake, demisse 
and imperfect. 



There is peradventure no vanity more manyfest, then 
so vainely to write of it. What Divinity hath so divinely 
expressed thereof unto us, ought of all men of under-^ 
standing to be diligently and continually meditated upon. 
Who seeth not, that I have entred so large a field, and 
undertaken so high a pitch, wherein so long as there is 
either Inke or Paper in the world, I may uncessantly 
wander and fly without encombrance? I can keepe no 
register of my life by my actions ; fortune placeth them 
too lowe : I hould them of my fantasies. Yet have I seen 
a gentleman, who never communicated his life, but by 
the operations of his belly : you might have scene in his 
house, set out for a show, a row of basins for seaven or 
eight dayes : It was all his study, it was all his talke : All 
jother discourses were unsavory to him. These are some- 
what more civile, the excrements of an ould spirit, some- 
Itimes hard, sometimes laxative ; but ever indigested. And 
when shall I come unto an end of representing a continuall 
agitation or uncessant alteration of my thoughts, what 
subject soever they happen upon ; since Diomedes filled 
six thousand bookes only with the subject of Grammar? 
iWhat is idle babling- like to produce, since the faltring 
and liberty of the tongue hath stuft the world with so 
horrible a multitude of volumes? So many words onely 
If or words. Oh Pythagoras, why didst not thou conjure 
this tempest? One Galba of former ages, being accused 
for living idlie ; answered, that all men ought to give an 
\account of their actions, hut not of their abiding. He was. 
deceived : for justice hath also knowledge and animadver- 
sion over such as gather stubble (as the common saying 
is) or looke about for gape-seed. But there should h& 
some correction appointed by the lawes^ against foolish 

184 Montaigne's Essayes 

and unprofitable writers y as there is against vagabonds 
and loiterers : so should both my selfe and a hundred others 
of our people be banished. It is no mockerie : ScribJing 
seemeth to be a Symthome or passion of an irregular and 
licentious age. When writ we ever so much as we have 
done since our intestine troubles? or when filled the 
Romans so many volumes, as in the times of their ruine? 
Besides that, the refining of wits in a common wealth, doth 
seldome make them the wiser: this idle working" proceed- 
eth of this that all men doe over slowly give them.selves 
to the office of their function, and are easily withdrawne 
from it. The corruption of the times we live in, is wrought 
by the particular contribution of every one of us : some 
conferre treason unto it, some injustice, other some irreli- 
gion, tyranny, avarice and cruelty ; according as they are 
more or lesse powerful! : the weaker sort, whereof I am 
one, imparte foolishnesse, vanity and idlenesse unto it. 
It seemeth to bee the season of vaine things ; when the 
domageable presse us. In a time, where to doe evill is 
common: to doe nothing profitable, is in a manner com- 
mendable. One thing comforts me, that I shall be of the 
last, that shall be attached : whilst they shall provide for 
the worser sort and the most hurtfull, I shall have leasure 
to amend my selfe : For, mee thinkes it would bee against, 
reason busily to insist and pursue petty inconveniences, | 
when great ones infect us. And the Physition Fhilotimus, 
to one that offred his finger to dresse, by whose face, 
iooke and breath he apparantly perceaved, that he had 
an impostume in his loonges ; My friend (quoth he) It is 
now no fit time to busie your selfe about your nayles. Yet 
concerning this purpose, I saw not many yeares since a 
friend of mine, whose name and memory (for divers 
respects), I hould in singular account, who in the midst 
of our troublous mischiefes : when, no more then at this 
time, neither lawe, nor justice, nor magistrate was 
executed or did his office, published certaine silly refor- 
mations, concerning the excesse of apparell, gluttony and; 
dyet, and abuses committed among petty-fogging lawiers. 
They be ammusings wherewith a people in a desperate 
taking is fed, that so men may say they are not cleane 
forgotten. Even so doe these others, who mainely apply 
them selves to forbid certaine manners of speach, dancesi 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 185 

and vaine sports, unto a people wholy given over to all 
licenciousnesse and execrable vices. It is then no con- 
venient time for a man to wash and netifie himself e when 
he is assailed by a violent fever. It onely belongs to Spar- 
tans, to tricke, to combe and wash themselves at what 
time they are ready to cast them selves into some extreame 
hazard of life. As for me, I am subject to this ill 
custome, that if but a pump sit not handsomly upon my 
foot, I shall also neglect my shirt and my cloake : for I 
disdaine to correct my selfe by halfes : when I am in bad 
estate, I flesh my selfe on evill and abandon my selfe 
through despaire, and run to downefall, and (as the say- 
ing is) cast the haft after the hatchet. I grow oljstinate 
in empairing ; and esteeme my selfe no more worthy of 
my care, eyther all well or all evill. It is a favour to me, 
that the desolation of our stale doth sutably meet with 
the desolation of my age : I rather endure that my evills 
should thereby be surcharged, then if my goods had there- 
by beene troubled. The words I utter against misfor- 
tune, are words of spite. My courage insteed of yeeld- 
ing, doth grow more obstinate; and contrary to others, I 
finde my selfe more given to devotion, in prosperous then 
adverse fortune : according to Xenophons rule, if not 
according to his reason. And I rather looke on heaven 
with a chearefull eye, to thanke it, then to begge any 
thing. I am more carefull to encrease my health when 
it smiles upon me, then to recover it when I have lost it. 
Prosperities are to me as discipline and instruction, as 
adversities and crosses are to others. As if good fortune 
were incompatible with a good conscience, men never be- 
come honest but by adverse and crosse chances. Good 
fortune is to me a singular motive unto moderation, and 
forcible spurre unto modesty. Prayers winne me, 
menaces reject me, favours relent me, feare imperverseth 
me. Amongst humane conditions, this one is very com- 
mon, that we are rather pleased with strange things then 
with our owne : we love changes, affect alterations, and 
like innovations. 

Ipsa dies ideo nos grato perluit haustu, 
Quod permutatis hora rcciirrii equis. 

Times therefore us refresh with welcome ayre, 
Because their houres on chang'd horse doe repayre. 

Ill 442 Q 

1 86 Montaigne's Essayes 

And my share is therein. Such as follow the other 
extremity, onely to bee well pleased with and in them- 
selves ; and selfe-conceitedly to over-esteeme what they 
possesse above others : and acknowledge no forme fayrer, 
then that they see : if they bee not more advised then we, 
they are indeed more happy. I envie not their wisedome, 
but gTudge their good fortune : This greedy humour of 
new and unquenchable desire of unknowne things dooth 
much increase and nourish in me a desire to travell : but 
divers other circumstances conferre unto it. I am well 
pleased to neglect and shake of the government of mine 
owne household. It is some pleasure to command, were 
it but a mole-hill, and a delight to be obaied. But it is 
a pleasure over-uniforme and languishing. Besides that 
it is ever necessarily intermixed with troublous cares, and 
hart-wearing thoughts. Sometimes the indigence and 
oppression of your owne people; sometimes the conten- 
tions and quarels of your neighbours, and othertimes their 
insulting and usurpation over you, doth vexe, doth trouble 
and afiiict you, 

Aut verheratce grandine vinece, 
Fundiisque mendax, arbor e nunc aquas 
Ciilbante, nunc torrentia agros 
Sydera, nunc hy ernes iniauas. 

IloR. Car. iii. Od. i. 29. 

Or Vineyards beate and wet with haile and raine, 
Or grounds defrauding hope, while trees complaine ; 
Sometime of waters, sometime of those starres, 
That scorch the fields, sometime of winters warres. 

And that God will hardly once in halfe a yeare send you 
a season, that shall throughly please your Bayly, and 
content your Receaver : and that if it be good for your 
vines, it be not hurtfull for your meddowes. 

Aut nirniis torret jemorihus cetherius Sol, 
Aut subiti perimunt iw.hres, gelidceqne pruina^ 
Flabraque ventorum violento turbine vexent. 

LucR. V. 215. 

Or with excessive heate heavens Sunne doth toast. 
Or sodaine stormes do kill, and chilling frost, 
Or violent; whirle-wind blasts doe vexe the coast. 

As that new and vvcll-shapen shoe of that man of formei 
ages, which hurts and wrings your foote : and that a 
stranger knowes not what it costes you, and what you con- 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 187 

tribute to maintaine the show of that order, which is scene 
in your housholde : and which peradventure you purchase 
at too high a rate. It was very late before I betooke my 
selfe to husbandrie. Tliose whom nature caused to be 
borne before mee, have long time ridde mee of that care- 
full burthen : I had already taken another habite more 
sutable to my complexion. Neverthelesse by that I have 
observed therein, I finde it to be rather a troublesome, then 
a hard occupation. Whosoever is capable of any other 
thing, may easily discharge that. If I would seeke to 
grow rich; that way would seeme over-long and tedious 
to mee : I would then have served our kings, a trade more 
beneficiall then all others ; since I pretend but to get the 
reputation, that as I have gotten nothing, so have I not 
wasted any thing ; sutable to the rest of my life ; as unfit 
to affect any good, as improper to worke any evill of con- 
sequence ; and that I onely seeke to weare out my life, I 
may (God bee thanked) doe it without any great attention : 
if the worst come to passe, before poverty assaile you, 
seeke by prevention to cut of your charges, and by hus- 
banding your expences keepe aforehand with it ; that is it 
I trust unto, and hope to reforme my selfe before it come 
neare or enforce me to it. As for other matters, I have 
forestalled many degrees and established sundry wayes in 
my minde, to live and rubbe out with lesse then I have. 
I say to live with contentment. Non esiimatione census^ 
verum victu atque cultu, terminattir pecunice modus (Cic. 
Parad.). The measure of money is lymited not by the 
estimate of wealth or place, hut by the manner of living 
and other furniture. My very neede doth not so precisely 
possesse my whole estate, but that without touching to the 
quick or empairing the maine, fortune shall finde some- 
thing to play upon, or take hold of. My very presence as 
ignorant and grim as it is, affordeth much helpe to my 
houshould affaires : I apply my selfe thereunto but some- 
what dispightfully : considering the manner of my house, 
which is, that severally to burne my candle at one end, the 
other is thereby nothing spared. Travels do not much 
hurt me, were it not for the charges, which are exceeding 
great and beyond my ability : having ever beene accus- 
tomed to journey not only with necessary, but also decent 
equipage : and that's the reason I make but short journeis 

1 88 Montaigne's Essayes 

and travel not to often : wherein I imploy but the scumme 
and v/hat I can well spare, temporising and differing, 
according as it commeth more or lesse. / will not have 
the pleasure of my wandring to corrupt, the delight of my 
retiring. Contrary-wise my intent is, that they nourish 
and favor one another. Fortune hath steaded me in this, 
that since my chiefest profession in this life, was to live 
delicately and quietly, and rather negligently then seri- 
ously, it hath deprived me of need to hoard up riches, to 
provide for the multitude of my heires. For one, if that 
be not sufficient for him, wherewith I have lived so plenti- 
ously, at his owne perill be it. His indiscretion shall not 
deserve, that I wish him more. And every man (accord- 
ing to the example of Phocion) provideth sufficiently for 
his children, thai provideth they be not unlike to him. I 
should by no meanes be of Crates his mind, or commend 
his proceeding. He left his money with a banquier upon 
this condition : That if his children were fooles he should 
deliver it them : but prooving wise and able to shift for 
themselves, he should distribute the same amongst the 
greatest fooles. As if fooles being least capable to make 
shift without it, were more capable to use riches. So it is, 
that the hurt proceeding from my absence, doth not (in 
mine opinion) deserve, so long as I shall have meanes to 
beare it, I should refuse to accept the occasions that offer 
themselves, to distract mee from this toylesome assistance. 
There is ever some peece out of square. Sometimes the 
businesse of one house, and other times the affaires of 
another, doe hurry you. You pry too neare into all 
things : herein, as well as elsewhere, your perspicuity doth 
harme you. I steale from such occasions as may move me 
to anger ; and remoove from the knowledge of things, that 
thrive not : yet can I not so use the matter, but still Ii 
stumble (being at home) upon some inconvenience, which 
displeaseth me. And slight knaveries, that are most' 
hidden from mee are those I am best acquainted with.; 
Some there are, which to avoyd a further mischiefe, a 
man must helpe to conceale himselfe : vaine prickings 
(vaine sometimes) but yet ever prickings. The least and 
sl^ightest hindrances, are the sharpest. And as the 
smallest letters hurt our eyes most, so the least affaires 
grieve us most: A multitude of slender evils oftendeth 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 189 

more, then the violence of one alone, how great soever. 
Even as ordinary thornes being small and sharpe pricke 
us more sharpely and sans threatning, if on a sudden we 
hit upon them. I am no Philosopher : Evils oppresse me 
according as they waigh ; and waigh according to their 
forme, as wel as according to the matter, and often more. 
I have more insight in them, then the vulgar sort ; and 
so have I more patience. To conclude, if they hurt me 
not, they lie heavie upon me. Life is a tender thing, and 
easie to be distempered. Since I began to grow towards 
peevish age, and by consequence toward frowardnes, nemo 
enim resistit sibi cum ceperit impelli (Sen. Ep. i. 13 f.) J 
For no man stayes himself when he is set on going. What 
ever fond cause hath brought me to it ; I provoke the 
humour that way : which afterward by his owne motion 
is fostred and exasperated, attracting and heaping up one 
matter upon another, to feede it selfe withall. 

Stillicidii casus lapidem cavat. 

By often falling on, 

Even water brealces a stone. 

These ordinary distilling drops consume and ulcerate me. 
Ordinary inconveniences are never light. They are con- 
tinuall and irreparable, if they continually and inseperatly 
aryse from the members of husbandry. When I consider my 
affaires a farre off, and in grosse, I finde, be it because 
I have no exact memory of them, that hitherto they have 
thrived beyond my reasons and expectation. Me thinks 
I draw more from them, then there is in them : their good 
successe betraieth me. But am I waded into the busi- 
nesse? See I all these parcels march? 

Tuvi vero in curas animtim dedticimus ownes. 

ViRG. /£n. V. 720. 
Then we our minde divide, 
To cares on every side. 

A thousand things therein give me cause to desire and 
feare. Wholy to forsake them is very easie unto me ; 
without toyling and vexation altogether to apply my selfe 
unto them, is most hard. It is a pittyfull thing, to be in 
a place, where whatsoever you see doeth set you a worke 
and concerne you. And me thinkes, I enjoy more blithly 
and taste more choisely the pleasures of a stranger house, 

I go Montaigne's Essayes 

then of mine ovvne : and both my minde and taste runne 
more freely and purely on them. Diogenes answered 
according to my humor, when being- demanded what kinde 
of Wine he liked best : Another mans, said he. My father 
delighted to build at Montaigne where he was borne : and 
in al this policy of domestick affaires, I love to make use 
of his examples and rules, unto which I will as much as 
possibly I can tie my succesors. Could I doe better for 
him, I would peiforme it. I glory his will is at this day 
practised by mee, and doth yet worke in me. God forbid I 
should ever suffer any image of life to perish under my 
hands, that I may yeeld unto so good and so kinde a father. 
If I have undertaken to finish any old peece of wall, or 
repare any building either imperfect or decaied : it hath 
certainly beene, because I had rather a respect to his in- 
tention, then a regard to my contentment. And I blame 
my negligence or lithernesse, that I have not continued 
to perfect the foundations he had laid, or beginnings he 
had left in his house : by so much the more because I 
am in great likelihood to be the last possessor of it, namely 
of my race, and set the last hand unto it. For, concern- 
ing my particular application, neither the pleasure of build- j 
ing, which is said to be so bewitching, nor hunting, nor 
hawking, nor gardens, nor such other delights of a retired 
life, can much embusie or greatly ammuse me. It is a 
thing for which I hate my selfe, as of all other opinions, 
that are incommodious to me. I care not so much to 
have them vigorous and learned, as I labour to have them 
easie and commodious unto life. They are indeed suffi- 
ciently true and sound, if they be profitable and pleasing. 
Those, who hearing mee relate mine owne insufficiencie 
in matters pertaining to husbandry or thrift, are still whis- 
pering in mine eares, that it is but a kinde of disdaine, 
and that I neglect to know the implements or tooles be- 
longing to husbandry or tillage, their seasons and orders, 
how my wines are made, how they graft, and understand 
or know the names and formes of hearbes, of simples, of 
fruits, and what belongs to the dressing of meats where- 
with I live and whereon I feede ; the names and prices of 
such stuffes I cloath my selfe withall, onely because I doe' 
more seriously take to heart some higher knowledge; bring 
me in a manner to deaths doore. That is meere sottish- 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 191 

nesse ; and rather brutishnesse then glory : I would rather 
be a cunning- horseman, then a good Logician. 

Quin tu aliquid saltern potius quorum indiget usus, 
Viminibus mollique paras detexere junco ? 

ViRG, Buc. Eel. ii. 71. 

Why rather with soft wings make you not speed, 
To worke-up something, whereof there is need? 

Wee hinder our thoughts from the general! and maine 
point, and from the causes and universall conducts : which 
are very well directed without us, and omit our owne busi- 
nesse : and MichaeL who concernes us neerer then man. 
Now I most commonly stay at home, but I would please 
my selfe better there, then any where else. 

Sit tnea sedes utinam senectce, 
Sit modus lasso maris, ei viarum, 

— Militiceque. 

HoR. Car. ii. Od. vi. 6. 

Some repaire and rest to mine old age I crave, 
Journying, failing, with a weary warring, 
O let an end have. 

I wot not whether I shall come to an end of it. I would 
that in lieu of some other part of his succession, my father 
had resigned that passionate love and deare affection, 
which in his aged yeeres he bare unto his houshold hus- 
bandry. He was very fortunate, in conforming his desires 
unto his fortune, and knew how to be pleased with what 
he had. Politike Philosophy may how it list accuse the 
basenesse and blame the sterilitie of my occupation, if as 
he did, I may but once finde the taste of it. I am of this 
opinion, that the honorahlest vacation, is to serve the 
Comfnon-ivealth, and be profitable to many. Fructus enim 
ingenii et virtutis, omnisque prcestantioe, turn maximiis 
accipitur, quum in proximtwi quemque, confertur (CiCER. 
(Amic). For then is most fruit reaped, both of our wit and 
vertue, and all other excellencie, when it is bestowed upon 
our neighbours. As for me, I depart from it : partly for 
conscience sake : (for whence I discern the waight, con- 
cerning such vacations, I also discover the slender meanes 
I have to supply them withall : And Plato a master worke- 
man in all politike government, omitted not to abstaine 
from them) partly for lithernesse. I am well pleased to 
enjoy the world, without troubling or pressing my selfe 

192 Montaigne's Essayes 

with it : to live a life, onely excusable : and which may 
neither bee burthensome to mee, nor to any other. Never 
did man goe more plainly and carelesly to worke in the 
care and government of a third man, then I would, had I 
a ground to worke upon. One of my wishes at this in- 
stant, should be to finde a sonne in law, that could hand- 
somely allure and discreetly beguile my old yeeres, and lull 
them asleepe : into whose hands I might despose, and in 
all soveraignty resigne the conduct and managing of my 
goods : that he might dispose of them as I doe, and gaine 
upon them what I gaine : alwaies provided he would but 
carry a truly-thankfull and friendly minde. But what? 
we live in a world, vi^here the loyalty of our owne children 
is not knowen. Whosoever hath the charge of my purse 
when I travell, hath it freely and without controll : as well 
might he decive me in keeping of reckonings. And if he 
be not a Divell, I bind him to deale well and honestly, by 
my carelesse confidence. Miilti fallere docuerunt, dum 
timent falli, et aliis jus peccandi suspicando fecerunt. 
Many have taught others to deceive^ while themselves 
feare to be deceived, and have given them just cause to j 
offendy by suspecting them unjustly. The most ordinary 
assurance I take of my people, is a kinde of disacknow- 
ledge or neglect : I never presume vices, but after I have 
seene them : and trust more yoong men, such as I imagine 
to be least debaushed and corrupted by ill examples. I 
had rather heare at two months end, that I have spent 
foure hundred crownes, then every night when I should 
goe to my quiet bed, have mine eares tired and my minde 
vexed with three, five, or seven. Yet in this kinde of 
stealing, have I had as little stolne from mee as any other : 
True it is, I lend a helping hand to ignorance. I wittingly 
entertaine a kinde of troubled and uncertaine knowledge 
of my money : untill it come to a certaine measure I am 
content to doubt of it. It is not amisse if you allow your 
boy or servant some small scope for his disloyalty and 
indiscretion. If in grosse we have sufficiently left to bring 
our matters to passe, this excesse of fortunes-liberalitie, 
let us somewhat more suffer it to stand to her mercie 
It is the gleaners fee. After all, I esteeme not so much 
my peoples fidelity, as I disesteeme their injurie. Oh base 
and absurd study, for a man to study his money, and 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 193 

please himselfe with handling and counting the same : for 
that's the way whereby covetousnesse maketh her ap- 
proches. Since eighteene yeeres, that I have had the full 
disposing of my goods in mine owne hands, I could never 
yet be brought to over-looke, neither titles nor bookes, no 
not so much as the principall affaires, that should neces- 
sarily passe thorow my knowledge and care. 

It is no Philosophical! contempt, to neglect worldly and 
transitorie things : my taste is not so exquisitely nice ; for 
I value them according to their worth at least : but truly 
it is an inexcusable slothfulnesse and childish negligence. 
What would I not rather doe, then reade a contract? And 
more willingly, as a slave to my businesse, with carke to 
over-looke, and care to survay a company of old-dusty 
bookes, and plod upon musty writings? and which is 
worse, other mens, as so many doe daily for money? I 
have nothing so deare as care and paine : and I onely 
endeavour to become carelesse and retchlesse. I had, in 
mine opinion, been fitter (if it might be) to live by others 
fortune, without bounden duty or bondage. And yet I 
wot not (the matter being thorowly sifted) whether accord- 
ing to my humour and fortune, what I must endure with 
my affaires, and pocket up at my servants and familiars 
hands, hath not more abjection, importunitie and sharpe- 
nesse, then the following of another man should have, 
better borne then my selfe, and who should [guide] me 
somewhat at mine ease. Servitus ohedientia est fracti 
animi et ahjecti, arhitrio carentis suo (Cic. Parad. v.) : 
Service is an obedience of an abject broken heart, that can- 
not dispose of it selfe. Crates did worse, who voluntarily 
cast himselfe into liberties of povertie, only to ridd him- 
selfe of the inconveniences, indignities and cares of his 
house. Which I would not doe, I hate povertie as much 
as griefe ; yet could I finde in my heart to change this 
manner of life with another lesse glorious and not so 
troublesome. Being absent, I discharge my selfe of all 
such carefull thoughts, and should lesse feele the ruinous 
downe-fall of a Towne, then being present, the fall of a 
Tile. Alone my minde is easily freed, but in company 
it indureth as much as a Plough-mans. My horse un- 
curb'd, his reines misplaced, or a stirrup or a strap hitting 
against my legge, will keepe me in a checke a whole day 

194 Montaigne's Essayes 

long-. I rouze my courage sufficiently against inconveni- 
ence ; mine eies I cannot. 

Sensus d superi sensust 

At home I am ever ansvi^erable for w^hatsoever is amisse.. 
Few masters (I speake of meane condition, as mine is; 
whereof if any be, they are the more happie) can so fully 
rely upon a second, but still a good part of the burden 
shall lie upon them. That doth peradventure take some- 
thing- from my fashion, in entertaining of guests or new 
commers; and happily I have beene able to stay some, 
more by my kitchin, then by my behaviour or grace : as 
doe the peevish and fantasticall : and I greatly diminish 
the pleasure I should take in my house, by the visitations 
and meetings of my friends. No countenance is so foolish, 
or so ill beseeming- a gentleman in his owne house, as to 
see him vexed or troubled about his houshold or domes- 
ticke affaires : to see him whisper one of his servants in 
the eare, and threaten another with his looke. It should 
insensibly glide-on, and represent an ordinary course. 
And I utterly dislike, that a man should entertaine his 
guest with either excusing, or boasting- of the entertain- 
ment he affoordeth them. I love order and cleanlinesse, 

— et cantharus et lanx, 
Ostendunt mihi me. — HoR, i. Epist. v. 23. 

My dish, my drinking kanne, 
Shew me what kinde of man, 

well nigh as much as plentie : In mine owne house I 
exactly looke unto necessitie, little unto state, and lesse 
unto ornament. If your neighbours servant be fighting 
with his companion, if a dish be overthrowen, you but 
laugh at it, you sleepe quietly whilst Sir such a one is 
busie casting up of accounts, and over-seeing- his stocke 
with his steward, and all about your provision for to- 
morrow. I speake according to mine opinion : omitting- 
not in generall to thinke, how pleasing an ammusement it 
is to certaine natures, to see a quiet and prosperous hous- 
hold, directed by a formall and guided by a regular order. 
But not intending to fasten mine owne errours and incon- 
veniences to the matter : Nor to gaine-say Plato, who 
deemeth that the happiest occupation any man can follow, 
is, to apply himselfe to his owne private businesse, with- 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 195 

out injustice. When I journey, I have nothing to care 
for but my selfe, and how my money is laid out, which 
is disposed with one onely precept. Over-many parts are 
required in hoarding and gathering of goods : I have no 
skill in it. In spending, I have some knowledge, and how 
to give my expences day : which indeed is it's principal! 
use. But I attend it over ambitiously, which makes it 
both uneqall and deformed : and besides that immoderate 
in one and other usage. If it appeare and make a good 
shew, if it serve the turne, I indiscreetly goe after it : and 
as indiscreetly restraine my selfe, if it shine or smile not 
upon mee. Whatsoever it bee, either Art or nature, that 
imprints this condition of life into us, by relation to others, 
it doth us much more hurt then good. In going about to 
frame apparances according to the common opinion, wee 
defraud our selves of our owne profits. Wee care not so 
much, what our state, or how our being is in us, and 
in effect, as wee doe how and what it is, in the publike 
knowledge of others. Even the goods of the minde, and 
wisedome it selfe, seeme fruitlesse unto us, if onely en- 
joyed by us : except it be set forth to the open view and 
approbation of strangers. There are some, whose gold 
runnes by streames in places under ground, and that im- 
perceptible : others extend the same in plates and leaves : 
So that to some, pence are worth crownes, to others the 
contrary : the world judging the employment and value, 
according to the outward shew. All over-nice care and 
curious heed about riches, hath a touch or a taste of 
avarice. Even their dispending and over regular and arti- 
ficiall liberalities are not worth a warie heed taking, and 
countervaile not a painefull diligence. Who so will make 
his expence even and just, makes it strict and forced : 
either close-keeping or employing of money, are in them- 
selves things indifferent, and admit no colour of good or 
evill, but according to the application of our will. The 
other cause that drawes me to these Journeyes or Vagaries, 
is the dissent or disparitie in the present manners of our 
state. I could easily comfort my selfe with this corrup- 
tion, in regard of the publike interest; 

— pejoraque secula ferri, 
Tetnporihus, quorum sceleri non invenit ipsa 
Nomen, et a nulla posuit natnra metallo. 

JuvEN. Sat. xiii. 28. 

196 Montaigne's Essayes 

Times worse then times of Iron, for whose bad frame 
And wickednesse even nature findes no name, 
Nor hath from any metall set the same. 

But not for mine owne : I am in particular over-pressed 
by it. For round about where I dwell we are, by the over- 
long- licentiousnesse of our intestine civill warres, almost 
growen old, in so licentious and riotous a forme of state, 

Quippe ubi fas versum atque nejas. 

ViRG. Georg. i. 505. 
As where of good and bad, 
There is no difference had. 

That in good truth, it were a wonder, if it should continue 
and maintaine it selfe. 

Armati terram exercent, semper que recentes 
Convectare juvat prcedas, et vivere rapto. 

ViRG. ^n. ix. 612. 
They armed plow the land, and joy to drive, 
And draw new booties, and on rapine live. 

To conclude, I see by our example, that the societie of 
men doth hold and is sewed together, at what rate soever 
it be : where ever they be placed, in mooving- and closing, 
they are ranged and stowed together ; as uneven and 
rugged bodies, that orderlesse are hudled in some close 
place, of themselves finde the way to be united and joyned 
together one with another : and many times better, then 
Art could have disposed them. King Philip assembled a 
rabble of the most leaud, reprobate and incorrigible men 
he could finde out, all which he placed in a Citie, which 
of purpose he had caused to be built for them, of whom 
it bare the name. I imagine, that even of their vices, 
they erected a politike contexture amongst themselves, 
and a commodious and just societie. I see not one action, 
or three, or a hundred, but even divers manners, admitted 
and commonly used : so extravagant (namely in disloyalty) 
and so barbarous in inhumanitie, which in my conceit, are 
the worst and most execrable kinde of vices, that I have 
not the heart so much as to conceive them without horrour : 
All which I in a manner admire as much as I detest. The 
exercise of these egregious villanies, beareth a brand of 
vigour and hardinesse of minde, as much as of error and 
irregular confusion. Necessitie composetli, and assembleth 
men together. This casual! combining is afterward 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 197 

framed into lawes. For, there have beene some as bar- 
barously-savage as humane opinion could possible pro- 
duce, which notwithstanding- have kept their bodies in as 
good health and state, in long life, as those of Plato or 
Aristotle could doe. And to say true, all these descrip- 
tions of policie, fained by Art and supposition, are found 
ridiculous and foolish, to bee put in practise. These great 
and long continuing altercations, about the best forme of 
societie, and most commodious rules to unite us together, 
are altercations onely proper for the exercise of our wit : 
As in arts, divers subjects are found, that have no essence 
but in agitation and disputing, without which they have 
no life at all. Such an Idea of policie, or picture of govern- 
ment, were to be established in a new world ; but we take 
a world already made and formed to certaine customes : 
wee engender not the same as Pyrrha, nor beget it as 
Cadmus. By what meanes soever we have the privilege 
to re-erect and range the same anew, we can very hardly 
wrest it from the accustomed habit and fold it hath taken, 
except we breake all. Solon being demanded, whether 
hee had established the best lawes he could for the 
Athenians : answered, yea of those they would have re- 
ceived : with such a shift doth Varro excuse himselfe ; 
saying, that if he were newly to beginne to write of reli- 
gion, he would plainly tell what his beleefe were of it : 
But being alreadie received, he will speake more of it 
according to custome, then to nature. Not to speake by 
opinion, but consonant to truth, the most excellent and 
best policie, for any nation to observe, is that under which 
it hath maintained it selfe. It's forme and essentiall com- 
moditie doth much depend of custome. We are easily 
displeased with the present condition : yet doe I hold that 
to wish the government of few, in a popular estate : or in 
la Monarchic, another kinde of policie, it is a manifest vice 
land meere follie. 

Ayme I'estat tel que tu le vois estre, 

S'il est royall, ayme la royaute, 

SHI est de peu, ou hien comtnunaute, 

Ayme Vaussi, car Dieti t'y a faict naistre. — Pjbrac. 

Love thou the state, as thou seest it to be, 
If it be Regall, love the royall race, 
If of a few, or Common-weale, embrace 
It as it is, borne there God pointed thee. 

198 Montaigne's Essayes 

So was the good Lord of Pibrac wont to speake of it,i 
whom we have lately lost, a man of so quaint and rar&' 
wit, of so sound judgement, and of so milde and affable 
behaviour. The untimely losse of whom, with that of the 
Lord of Foix, both fatally happning to us at one time, 
are surely losses of great consequence unto our crowne. 
I wot not well, whether France, amongst all the men it- 
hath left, is able to affoord us two such other Gentlemen, 
as may either insincerity andwoorth,or in sufficiencie and 
judgement, for the counsell of our Kings match these two. 
Gascoynes. They were two mindes diversly faire, and 
verily, if we respect the corrupted age wherein we live, 
both rare and gloriously-shining, every one in her forme. 
But alas, what destiny had placed them on the Theater of 
this age, so dissonant and different in proportion from our 
deplorable corruption, and so farre from agreeing with our 
tumultuous stormes? Nothing doth so neerely touch and 
so much overlay an estate, as innovation : Onely change 
doth give forme to injustice, and scope to tyranny. If 
some one peece be out of square, it may be underpropt : 
one may oppose himselfe against that, which the altera- 
tion incident, and corruption, naturall to all things, doth 
not too much elonge and draw us from our beginnings and 
grounded principles : But to undertake to re-erect and 
found againe so huge a masse, and change or remoove 
the foundations of so vast a frame, belongeth onely to 
them, who instead of purging, deface and in liew of cleans- 
ing, scrape out : that will amend particular faults by an 
universall confusion, and cure diseases by death : Non 
tarn commutandartim quam evertendarum rerum cupidi. 
Not so desirous to have things altered, as overthrow en. 
The world is fondly unapt to cure it selfe : So impatient 
with that which vexeth or grieveth it, that it only aimeth 
to ridd it selfe of it, never regarding at what rate. Wee 
see by a thousand examples, that it doth ordinarily cure \ 
it selfe at it's owne charges : To he freed from a present 
evill, is no perfect cure, except there he a gencrall amend' 
ment of condition. The end of a skilfull Chirurgion, is 
not to mortifie the bad flesh, it is but the beginning and 
addressing of his cure : he aimeth further, that is, to make 
the naturall to grow againe, and reduce the partie to his 
due being and quality. Who ever proposeth onely to 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 199 

remoove what gnaweth him shall be to seeke : for good 
dooth not necessarily sii>cceed evill: another, yea a worse 
evill may succeed it. As it hapned unto Cesars murderers, 
who brought the common-wealth to so distresfull a plunge, 
that they repented themselves they ever medled with the 
same. The like hath since fortuned to divers, yea in our 
dales. The French that Hve in my times, know very well 
what to speake of such matters. All violent changes and 
great alterations, disorder, distemper and shoMe a state 
very much. He that should rightly respect a sound re- 
covery or absolute cure, and before all other things 
thorowly consult about it, might happily grow slacke in 
the businesse and beware how he set his hand unto it. 
Pacuvius Calavius corrected the vice of this manner of 
proceeding by a notable example. His fellow Citizens had 
mutined against their magistrates; He being a man of 
eminent authority in the cittie of Capua, found one day 
the meanes to shut up the Senate in the Guildhall or 
Palace, then calling the people together in the market 
place, told them ; That the day was now come, wherein 
with full and unresisted liberty, they might take venge- 
ance of the tyrants, that had so long and so many wayes 
oppressed them, all which he had now at his mercy, alone 
and unarmed. His opinion was, that orderly by lots, they 
should be drawne out one after another : which done they 
might particularly dispose of every one : and whatsoever 
should be decreed of them, should immediately be executed 
upon the place ; provided they should therewithall presently 
advise and resolve to nominate and establish some honest 
and undetected man, to supply the roome of the con- 
demned, lest their cittie should remaine void of due officers. 
To which they granted, and heard no sooner the name 
of a Senatour read, but a loud exclamation of a generall 
discontent was raised against him : which Pacuvius per- 
ceiving, he requested silence and thus bespake them. My 
country-men, I see very well, that man must be cut off, 
hee is a pernicious and wicked member; but let us have 
another sound good man in his place ; and whom would 
you name for that purpose? This unexpected speech bred 
a distracted silence ; each one finding himselfe to seeke 
and much confounded in the choise. Yet one, who Vvas the 
boldest impudent amongst them, nominated one whom 

2CO Montaigne's Essayes I 

he thought fittest ; who was no sooner heard, but a generall 
consent of voices, louder then the first, followed, all refus- 
ing him : as one taxed with a hundred imperfections, law- 
full causes and just objections, utterly to reject him. 
These contradicting humours growing more violent and 
hot, every one following his private grudge or affection, 
there ensued a farre greater confusion and hurly-burly in 
drawing of the second and third Senatour, and in naming 
and choosing their successours, about which they could 
never agree. As much disorder and more confusion about 
the election, as mutuall consent and agreement about the 
demission and displacing. About which tumultuous 
trouble, when they had long and to no end laboured and 
wearied themselves, they began some here, some there, to 
scatter and steale away from the assemblie : every one 
with this resolution in his minde, that the oldest and best 
knowen evill, is ever more tolerable, then a fresh and un- 
experienced mischiefs. By seeing our selves piteously 
tossed in continuall agitation : for what have we not done? 

Eheu cicatricum et sceleris pudet, 
Fratrumqiie : quid nos dura refugimus 
jEtas? quid intacium nefasti 
Liquimus ? unde manus juventus 
Metu Deorum continuit? quibus 
Pepercit aris? — HoR. Car. i. Od. xcv. 33. 

Alas for shame of wickednesse, and scarres 

Of brother-country-men in civill warres. 

We of this hardned world, what doe we shunne? 

What have we execrable left undone? 

To set their hand whereto hath youth not dared 

For feare of Gods? what altars hath it spared? 

I am not very sudden in resolving or concluding. 

— ipsa si velit salus, 
Servare prorsus non potest hanc familiatn : 

Ter. Adel. act. iv. sc. 7. 

This familie if safetie would 

Keepe safe, I doe not thinke it could. • 

Yet are we not peradventure come unto our last period. 
The preservation of states, is a thing in all likelihood ex- 
ceeding our understanding. A civill policie (as Plato 
saith) is a mighty and puisant matter, and of very hard 
and difficult dissolution; it often endureth against mortall. 

The Third Booke Chap, IX 201 

and intestine diseases : yea against the injury of unjust 
lawes, against tyrannie, against the ignorance and de- 
bordement of Magistrates, and against the licentiousnesse 
and sedition of the people. In all our fortunes, we com- 
pare our selves to that which is above us, and looke toward 
those that are better. Let us measure our selves by that 
which is beneath us, there is no creature so miserably 
wretched, but findes a thousand examples to comfort him- 
selfe withall. It is our fault, that we more unwillingly 
behold what is above us, then willingly what is beneath 
us. And Solon said, that should a man heape up in one 
masse all evils, together, there is none, that would not 
rather chuse to carry back with him such evils as he 
alreadie hath, then come to a lawfull division with other 
men of that chaos of evils and take his allotted share of 
them. Our Common-wealth is much crazed, and out of 
tune. Yet have divers others beene more dangerously 
sicke, and have not died. The gods play at hand-ball with 
us, and tosse us up and downe on all hands. Emin vero dii 
nos homines quasi pilas habent (Plaut. Capt. Prol.). The 
gods perdie doe reckon and racket us men as their tennis- 
balles. The destinies have fatally ordained the state of 
Rome, for an exemplar patterne of what they can doe in 
this kinde. It containeth in it selfe all formes and for- 
tunes that concerne a state : whatsoever order trouble, 
good or bad fortune may in any sort effect in it. What 
man may justly despaire of his condition, seeing the agita- 
tions, troubles, alterations, turmoiles and motions, where- 
with it was tossed to and fro, and which it endured? If 
the extention of rule, and far-spreading domination, be the 
perfect health of a state, of which opinion I am not in 
any wise (and Isocrates doth greatly please me, who in- 
structeth Nicocles, not to envie those Princes, who have 
large dominations, but such as can well maintaine and 
orderly preserve those that have beene hereditarily 
escheated unto them) that of Rome was never so sound, 
as when it was most sicke and distempered. The worst 
of it's forme, was to it the most fortunate. A man can 
hardly distinguish or know the image of any policie under 
the first Emperors : it was the most horrible and turbulent 
confusion that could be conceaved, which notwithstanding 
it endured and therein continued, preserving, not a 

202 Montaigne's Essayes 

Monarchic bounded in her limits, but so many nations, so 
different, so distant, so evill affected, so confusedly com- 
manded, and so unjustly conquered. 

— nee gentihus ullis 
Commodat in populum terrce pelagique potentem, 
Invidiam fortuna suam. — Lucr. i. S2. 

Fortune doth to no other nation lend 
Envie, against that people force to bend, 
Which both by land and sea their force extend. 

All that shaketh doth not fall: The contexture of so vast 
a frame holds by more then one naile. It holds by it's 
antiquity : as olde buildings, which ag-e hath robbed of 
foundation, without loame or morter, and neverthelesse 
live and subsist by their owne waight, 

— nee jam validis radicibus hcerens 
Pondere iuta suo est. — Ibid. 138. 

Though now to no strong roote it sticke so fast, 
Yet is it safe by selfe-waight, and will last. 

Moreover he goes not cunningly to worke, that onely sur- 
vayes the fiankes and dykes : to judge vv^ell of the strength 
of a place; he must heedily marke how, and view which 
way it may be approached, and in what state the assailant 
stand. Few vessels sinke with their owne waight, and 
without some extraordinary violence. Cast we our eyes 
about us, and in a generall survay consider all the world ; 
all is tottring, all is out of frame. Take a perfect view 
of all great states in Christendome and where ever else 
we have knowledge-of, and in all places you shall finde a 
most evident threatning of change and ruine : 

Et sua sunt illis incommoda, parque per omnes 

Their discommodities they know : 
One storme alike ore all doth grow. 

Astrologers may sport themselves, with warning us, as 
they doe of imminent alterations and succeeding revolu- 
tions : their divinations are present and palpable, wee need 
not prie into the heavens to finde them out. Wee are not 
only to draw comfort from this universall aggregation of 
evill and threats ; but also some hope for the continuance 
of our state : forsomuch as naturally nothing falleth^ where 
all things fall : a generall disease is a particular health : 
Conformitie is a qualitie enemie to dissolution. As for me, 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 203 

nothing despaire of it, and me thinks I already perceive 
ome starting holes to save us by : 

Deus hcEC fortasse henigna 

Reducet in sedem vice. — HoR. Epod. xiii. lo. 

It may be, God with gracious entercourse 
Will re-establish these things in their course. 

IVho knowes, whether God hath determined it shall happen 
if them, as of bodies that are purged, and by long grievous 
icknesses brought to a better and sounder state; which 
:horowly purged diseases do afterward yeeld them a more 
intire and purely-perfect health, then that they tooke from 
hem ? That which grieveth me most, is, that counting the 
ymptomes or affects of our evill, I see as many meerely 
proceeding of nature, and such as the heavens send us, and 
which may properly be termed theirs, as of those that our 
3wne surfet, or excesse, or misse-diet, or humane indis- 
retion confer upon us. The very Planets seeme orderly 
to declare unto us, that we have continued long enough, 
j^ea and beyond our ordinary limits. This also grieves me, 
that the neerest evill threatning us, is not a distemper or 
alteration in the whole and solide masse, but a dissipation 
and divulsion of it : the extreamest of our feares. And 
even in these fantasticall humors or dotings of mine, I 
feare the treason of my memory, least unwarily it have 
made me to register somethings twise. I hate to correct 
and agnize my selfe, and can never endure but grudgingly 
to review and re-polish what once hath escaped my pen. 
I heere set downe nothing that is new or lately found out. 
They are vulgar imaginations ; and which peradventure 
having beene conceived a hundred times, I feare to have 
already enrolled them. Repetition is ever tedious, were it 
in Homer: But irkesome in things, that have but one super- 
ficiall and transitorie shew. I am nothing pleased with 
inculcation or wresting-in of matters, be it in profitable 
things, as in Seneca. And the maner of his Stoike schoole 
displeaseth me, which is, about every matter, to repeat at 
'large, and from the beginning to the end, such principles 
and pre-suppositions, as serve in generall : and every 
hand-while to re-allege anew the common arguments, and 
universall reasons. My memorie doth daily grow worse 
and v/orse, and is of late much empaired : 

204 Montaigne's Essayes 

Pocula lethcFOs ut si ducentia soinnos, 
— A rente fauce traxerim. 

HoR. Epod. xiv. 3. 

As though with drie lips I had drunke that up, 
Which drawes oblivious sleepe in drowsie cup. 

I shall henceforward be faine (for hitherto thankes be to 
God, no capitall fault hath hapned) whereas others seeke 
time and occasion, to premeditate what they have to say, 
that I avoid to prepare my selfe, for feare I should tie my 
selfe to some strict bond, on which I must depend. To be 
bound and tied doth somewhat distract me : namely when 
I am wholly to rely and depend on so weake an instrument, 
as is my memory. I never read this story, but I feele a 
certaine proper and naturall offence. Lyncestes being- 
accused of a conspiracie against Alexander, the very same 
day, that according to custome, he was led forth in presence 
of all the armie, to be heard in his owne defence, had in 
his minde a premeditated oration, which he had studiously 
learn 't by rote, whereof, stammering and faltring, having 
uttered some words : And wrestling with his memory, and 
striving to run-it over againe, he was sodainly charged by 
the souldiers that were about him and slaine with pikes ; 
as they who held him to be convicted. His amazement and 
silence, served them as a confession. For they supposed 
that having had so long leasure in prison to prepare him- 
self e, it was not (as they thought) his memory failed him, 
but his guilty conscience bridled so his tongue and deprived 
him of his wonted faculties. It was truly wel spoken. 
The very place, the company and expectation astonieth a 
man, when he most aimeth at an ambition of well-speaking. 
What can a man doe, when a meere oration shall bring his 
life into consequence? As for mee, if I bee tide unto a 
prescript kinde of speaking, what bindes me to it, dooth 
also loose me from it, when I have committed and wholly 
assigned my selfe unto my memory : I so strong-ly depend 
on the same, that I overwhelme it : she faints under her 
owne burthen. So much as I refer my selfe unto her, so 
much am I divided from my selfe : untill I make tryall of 
my countenance. And I have sometimes beene in paine, 
in concealing the bondage whereunto I was engaged : 
whereas my dessigne, in speaking, to represent a maine 
carelesnesse of accent and countenance, suddaine and un- 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 205 

premeditated, or casuall motions as rising- of present occa- 
sions; rather loving to say nothing- of any worth, then 
make shew I came provided to speake well : a thing above 
all unseemely, to men of my profession, and of over strict 
an obligation, to one that cannot hold much : Preparation 
gives more to hope then it brings with it. A man doth 
often strip himselfe into his doblet, to leape shorter then 
he did in his gowne. Nihil est his, qui placere volunt, tarn 
adversarium, quam expectatio. There is none so great an 
enemy, to them that would please^ as expectation. It is 
written of Curio the Orator, that when he proposed the dis- 
tribution of the parts of his oration, into three or foure, or 
the number of his arguments and reasons, it was his ordi- 
nary custome, either to forget some one, or adde one or 
two more unto it. I have ever shunned to fall into such 
an inconvenience : as one hating these selfe-promises and 
prescriptions : Not onely for the distrust of my memory, 
but also because this forme drawes over neare unto an 
artiste. Simpliciora militares decent. Plaine wordes and 
manners become Martialists. Sufficeth, I have now made 
a vow unto my selfe, no more to undertake the charge, to 
speake in any place of respect : For to speake in reading 
what one hath written : besides that it is most foolish and 
absurde, it is a matter of great disadvantage to such as 
by nature were interessed or might do any thing in the 
action. And wholy to rely or cast my selfe to the mercy 
of my present invention, much lesse : I have it by nature 
so dull and troubled, that it cannot in any wise supply me 
in sudaine, and stead me in important necessities. May 
it please the gentle reader, to suffer this one part of Essay 
to run on, and this third straine or addition of the rest of 
my pictures peeces. I adde, but I correct not : First, 
because he who hath hypothekised or engaged his labour 
to the world, I finde apparance, that he hath no longer right 
in the same : let him, if hee be able, speake better els 
where, and not corrupt the worke he hath already made 
sale off; Of such people, a man should buy nothing, but 
after they are dead : let them throughly thinke on it, before 
they produce the same. Who hastens them? My booke 
is alwaies one : except that according as the Printer goes 
|i about to renew it, that the buyers depart not altogether 
j empty-handed ; I give my selfe law to adde thereto (as it 

2o6 Montaigne's Essayes 

is but uncoherent cheeky, or ill joined in-laid-worke) some 
supernumerall embleme. They are but over-waights, 
which disgrace not the first forme, but give some particular 
price unto every one of the succeeding, by an ambitious 
pety subtility. Whence notwithstanding, it may easily 
happen, that some transposition of chronology is thereto 
commixt : my reports taking place according to their op- 
portunity, and not ever according to their age. Secondly, 
forsomuch as in regard of my selfe, I feare to loose by the 
exchange : My understanding doth not alwaies goe for- 
ward, it sometimes goes also backeward : I in a manner 
distrust mine owne fantasies as much, though second or 
third, as I doe when they are the first, or present, as past. 
We many times correct our selves as foolishly, as we taxe 
others unadvisedly. I am growne aged by a number of 
yeares since my first publications, which were in a thousand 
five hundred and foure score. But I doubt whether I be 
encreased one inch in wisedome. My selfe now, and my 
selfe anon, are indeede two; but when better, in good sooth 
I cannot tell. It were a goodly thing to bee old, if wee did 
onely march towards amendment. It is the motion of a 
drunkard, stumbling, reeling, giddie-brain'd, formeles, or 
of reedes, which the ayre dooth casually wave to and fro, 
what way it bloweth. Antiochus in his youth, had stoutly 
and vehemently written in favor of the Academy, but being 
olde he changed copy, and writ as violently against it : 
which of the two I should follow, should I not ever follow 
Antiochus? Having once established a doubt, to attempt 
to confirme the certainty of humane opinions, were it not 
an establishing of a doubt, and not of the certainty? and 
promise, that had he had another age given him with 
assurance to live, he should ever have beene in termes of 
new agitations ; not so much better, as other and different? 
Publike favor hath given me some more boldnes, then I 
hoped for : but the thing I feare most, is to breed a glutting 
saciety : I would rather spur, then bee weary. As a wise- 
man of my time hath done. Commendation is ever pleasn 
ing, from whom, from whence, or wherefore soever it 
come : yet ought a m,an to be informed of the cause, if he 
will justly please and applaud himselfe therewith. Imperi 
fections themselves have their meanes to be recommended. 
Vulgar and common estimation, is little happy if it comt 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 207 

to encounter : And I am deceived, if in my dayes, the worst 
compositions and absurdest bookes have not gained the 
credit of popular breath. Verily I am much beholding to 
divers honest men, and I thanke them, that vouchsafe to 
take my endeavours in good parte. There is no place 
where the defects of the fashion doe so much appeare, as 
in a matter, that in it selfe hath nothing to recommend it. 
Good reader blame not me, for those that passe here, either 
by the fantazie or unwarinesse of others : for every hand, 
each workeman, brings his owne unto them. I neither 
meddle with orthography (and would onely have them follow 
the ancient) nor with curious pointing : I have small experi- 
ence in either. Where they altogether breake the sence, 
I little trouble my selfe therewith ; for at least they dis- 
charge me. But where they will wrest-in and substitute 
a false sence (as often they doe) and wyre-draw me to their 
conceits, then they spoyle me. Neverthelesse, when the 
sentence is not strong or sinnowy according to my mean- 
ing, an honest man may reject it to be mine. He that shall 
know how little laborious I am and how framed after mine 
owne fashion, will easily beleeve, I would rather endite 
anew, as many more other Essayes, then subject my selfe 
to trace these over againe, for this childish correction. I 
was saying erewhile that being plunged in the deepest mine 
of this newkindeof mettall, I am not onely deprived of great 
familiarity with men of different custome from mine ; and 
other opinions, by which they holde together by a knot, 
commanding all other knots : but am not also without some 
hazard, amongst those, with whom all things are equally 
lawfull : most of which cannot now adayes empaire their 
market towarde our justice : whence the extreme degree of 
llcenclousnesse proceedeth. Casting over all the particular 
circumstances that concerne mee, I finde no one man of 
Qurs, to whom the inhibition of our lawes costeth any thing, 
eyther in gaine ceasing, or in losse appearing (as Lawyers 
say) more then unto my selfe. And some there be, that in 
chollericke heate and humorous fury will cracke and vaunt 
much, that will performe a great deale lesse then my selfe, 
if once wee come to an equall baliance. As a house at all 
times freely open, much frequented, of great haunt and 
officious in entertaining all sorts of people (for I could never 
bee induced, to make an implement of warre thereof : which 

2o8 Montaigne's Essayes 

I perceive much more willingly to bee sought-out and 
flocked unto, where it is furthest from my neighbours) my 
house hath merited much popular affection : And it were a 
hard matter to gourmandize my selfe upon mine owne 
dung-hill : And I repute it a wonderfull and exemplar 
strangenesse, that having undergone so many stormy- 
wrackes, so divers changes and tumultuous-neighbour 
agitations, it doth yet this day continue free, and (as I 
may say) an undefiled virgin from shedding of blood, 
spoile or sacking. For, to say true, it was possible for a 
man of my disposition to escape from a constant and con- 
tinuall forme, whatsoever it was. But the contrary inva- 
sions, hostile incursions, [alternations] and vicissitudes of 
fortune, round about me, have hitherto more exasperated, 
then mollified the humour of the country : and recharge 
mee with dangers and invincible difficulties. I have es- 
caped. But it grieveth me that it is rather by fortune, yea 
and by my discretion, then by justice : And it vexeth me, 
to bee without the protection of the lawes and under any 
other safegard, then theirs. As things now stand, I live 
more then halfe by the favour of others ; which is a severe 
obligation. I would not be endebted for my safety, neither 
to the goodnesse, nor to the good will of our great men, 
which applaude themselves with my liberty and legalitie ; 
nor to the facilitie of my predecessours, or mine owne man- 
ners : for, what if I were other then I am? If my de- 
meanour, the libertie of my conversation, or happilie 
alliance, binde my neighbours ; It is a cruelty that they 
should acquit themselves of it, in suffering me to live, and 
that they may say ; wee give him a free and an undisturbed 
continuation of divine service, in the chaple of his house, 
whilst all other Churches round about are by us prophaned 
and deserted : and we freely allow and pardon him the 
fruition of his goods, and use of his life, as hee maintaineth 
our wives, and in time of need keepeth our cattle. It is 
long since that in my house, we have a share in Lycurgus 
the Athenians praise, who was the generall storier, de- 
positary and guardian of his fellow-citizens goods and 
purses. I am now of opinion, that a man must live by law 
and authoritie, and not by recompence or grace. How 
many gallant men have rather made choise to lose their 
life, then be indebted for the same? I shunne to submit 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 209 

my selfe to any manner of obligation. But above all, to 
[that] which bindes me by duty of bonds of honour. / 
finde nothing so deare, as what is given mee : and that 
because my will remaines engaged by a title of ingratitude : 
And I more willingly receive such offices, as are to be sold. 
A thing easie to bee beleeved ; for these I give nothing but 
money ; but for those, I give my selfe. The bond that 
holdes me by the law of honestle, seemeth to me much more 
urgent and forcible, then that of civill compulsion. I am 
more gently tyed by a Notarie, then by my selfe. Is it not 
reason, that my conscience bee much more engaged to that, 
wherein she hath simply and onely beene trusted? Els, my 
faith oweth nothing; for she hath nothing lent her. Let 
one helpe himselfe with the confidence or assurance he 
hath taken from me. I would much rather breake the 
prison of a wall or of the lawes, then the bond of my word. 
I am nicely scrupulous in keeping of my promises, nay 
almost superstitious ; and in all subjects I commonly passe 
them uncertaine and conditional!. To such as are of no 
weighty consequence, I adde force with the jealousie of 
my rule : shee rackes and charges me with her owne inter- 
est. Yea, in such enterprises as are altogether mine owne 
and free, if I speake the word, or name the point, mee 
thinkes I prescribe the same unto me : and that to give it 
to anothers knowledge, it is to preordaine it unto himselfe. 
Me seemes I absolutely promise, when I speake. Thus I 
make but small bragge of my propositions. The condemna- 
tion I make of my selfe, is more mooving, forcible and 
severe, then that of the judges, who onely take me by the 
countenance of common obligation : the constraint of my 
conscience is more rigorous and more strictly severe ; I 
faintly follow those duties, to which I should bee haled, if 
I did not goe to them. Hoc ipsum ita justum est quod 
recte fit, si voluntarium (Cic. Off. i.). This is so just, as it 
is well done, if it be voluntary. If the action have no 
glimps of libertie, it hath neither grace nor honour. 

Quid me jus cogit, vix voluntatc impctrent. 
Ter. Ad. act. iii. sc. 4. 

What law enforceth me to doe, 

By will they can scarse winne me to. 

Where necessitie drawes me, I love to relent my will. Qua 
quicquid imperio cogitur^ exigenti ma^isj quain prcestanti 

2IO Montaigne's Essayes 

acceptum refertur. For 'whatsoever is enforced hy coi 
mandy is more imputed to him that exacteth then in hi 
that performeth. I know some, that follow this aire even 
unto injustice : They will rather give, then restore ; sooner 
lend, then pay; and more sparingly doe good to him, to 
whom they are bound to doe it. I bend not that way, but 
am mainely against it. I love so much to disoblige and 
discharge my selfe, that I have sometimes esteemed as 
profit, the ingratitudes, the offences, and indignities I had 
received of those, to whom either by nature or accidents, 
I was by way of friendship somewhat beholding : taking 
the occasion of their fault for a quittance and discharge of 
my debt. Although I continue to pay them the apparent 
offices with common reason ; I notv^^ithstanding finde some 
sparing in doing that by justice, which I did by affection ; 
and somewhat to ease my self with the attention and dili- 
gence of my inward will. Est prudentis sustinere ut cur- 
sum, sic impetum henevolentice (Cic. De Amic). It is a 
Wisemans part to keepe a hand as on the course, so on the 
career of his goodwill: Which where ever I apply my selfe, 
is in me too urgent and over pressing : at least for a man 
that by no meanes would be enthronged. Which hus- 
bandrie stands mee in stead of some comfort, about the 
imperfections of those that touch me. Indeed I am much 
displeased, they should thereby be of lesse worth : but so 
it is that I also save something of my engagement and 
application towards them. I allow of him that loves his 
childe so much the lesse, by how much more he is either 
deformedly crooked, or scald-headed : And not onely when 
he is knavish or shrewd, but also being unluckie or ill 
borne (for God himselfe hath in that abated of his worth 
and naturall estimation) alwaies provided, that in such a 
cold and sleight affection, hee beare himselfe with modera- 
tion and exact justice. In mee, proximitie of blood doth 
nothing diminish, but rather aggravate defects. After all, 
according to the skill I have in the knowledge of benefits 
and thankfulnesse, which is a knowledge very subtill and 
of great use, I see no man more free and lesse indebted, 
then hitherto I am my selfe. What ever I owe, the 
same I owe simply to common and naturall obligations. 
There is no man more absolutely quit and cleare else 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 211 

— nee sunt mihi nota potentum 

With gifts I am not much acquainted, 
Of mighty men, and much lesse tainted. 

Princes give mee sufficiently ^ if they take nothing from me, 
and doe me much goody if they doe me no hurt: it is all I 
require of them. Oh how much am I beholding to God, 
forsomuch as it hath pleased him, that whatsoever I enjoy, 
I have immediately received the same from his grace : that 
he hath particularly reserved all my debt unto himselfe. 
I most instantly beseech his sacred mercy, that I may never 
owe any man so much as one essentiall God amercie. Oh 
thrise fortunate libertie, that hath brought me so farr. May 
it end successefully. I endevour to have no manner of 
need of any man. In me omnis spes est mihi. All my 
hope for all my helpes is my selfe. It is a thing that every 
man may effect in himselfe : but they more easily, whom 
God hath protected and sheltred from naturall and urgent 
necessities. Inded it is both lamentable and dangerous, to 
depend of others. Our selves, which is the safest and most 
lawfull refuge, are not very sure under our selves. I have 
nothing that is mine owne, but my selfe : yet is the posses- 
sion thereof partly defective and borrowed. I manure my 
selfe, both in courage (which is the stronger) and also in 
fortune, that if all things else should forsake me, I might 
finde something, wherewith to please and satisfie my selfe. 
Eleus Hippias did not onely store himselfe with learning 
that in time of need hee might joyfully withdraw himselfe 
amongst the Muses, and be sequestred from all other com- 
pany : nor onely with the knowledge of Philosophie, to 
teach his minde to be contented with her, and when his 
chance should so dispose of him, manfully to passe over 
such incommodities, as exteriorlie might come unto him. 
But moreover he was so curious in learning to dresse his 
meat, to notte his haire, to make his cloathes, breeches and 
shoes, that as much as could possibly be, he might wholly 
relie and trust to himself, and be freed from all forraine 
helpe. A man doth more freely and more blithely enjoy 
borrowed goods : when it is not a bounden jovissance and 
constrained through neede : and that a man hath in his 
will the power, and in his fortune the meanes to live without 
them. I know my selfe well. But it is very hard for me 


212 Montaigne's Essayes 

to imagine any liberalitie of another body so pure towards 
me, or suppose any hospitalitie so free, so hartie and 
genuine, as would not seeme affected, tyrannicall, disgraced 
and attended-on by reproach, if so were that necessitie had 
forced and tied me unto it. As to give is an ambitious 
qualitiey and of prerogative^ so is taking a qualitie of suh- 
mission. Witnes the injurious and pick-thanke refusall, 
that Bajazeth made of the presents which Themir had senti 
him. And those which in the behalfe of Soliman the Em- 
perour were sent to the Emperour of Calicut ^ did so vexi 
him at the heart, that he did not only utterly reject and 
scornfully refuse them ; saying, that neither himselfe nor 
his predecessors before him, were accustomed to take any 
thing, and that their office was rather to give, but besides 
he caused the Ambassadors, to that end sent unto him, to 
be cast into a deepe dungeon. When Thetis (saith Aris- 
totle) flattereth Jupiter: when the Lacedemonians flatter 
the Athenians, they doe not thereby intend to put them in 
minde of the good they have done them, which is ever hate- 
full, but of the benefits they have received of them. Those 
I see familiarly to employ and make use of all men, to 
begge and borrow of all men, and engage themselves to all 
men, would doubtlesse never doe it, knew they as I doe, 
or tasted they as I have done, the sweet content of a pure 
and undepending libertie : and if therewithall (as a wiseman 
ought) they did duly ponder what it is for a man to engage 
himselfe into such an obligation, or libertie depriving bond. 
It may happily be paid sometimes, But it can never be 
utterly dissolved. It is a cruell bondage, to him that loveth, 
throughly and by all meanes to have the free scope of his 
libertie. Such as are best and most acquainted with me, 
know, whether ever they saw any man living, lesse solicit- 
ing, lesse craving, lesse importuning or lesse begging, then 
I am, or that lesse employeth or chargeth others, which if 
I be, and that beyond all moderne example, it is no great I 
wonder, sithence so many parts of my humours or manners: 
contribute thereunto. As a naturall kind of stubbornnesse,, 
an impatience to be denied, a contraction of my desires 
and desseignes ; and an insufficiencie or untowardlinesse 
in all manner of affaires ; but above all, my most favoured 
qualities, lethall sloathfulnesse, and a genuine liberty. By 
all which meanes, I have framed an habite mortally to hate, 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 213 

to be beholding to any creature els, or to depend of other, 
then unto and of my selfe. True it is, that before I employ 
the beneficence or liberality of an other, in any light or 
waighty occasion, small or urgent neede soever : 1 doe to 
the utmost power employ all that ever I am able, to avoid 
and forbeare it. My friends doe strangelie importune and 
molest me, when they solicitie and urge me to entreate a 
third man. And I deeme it a matter of no lesse charge 
and imputation, to disingage him that is endebted unto me, 
by making use of him, then to engage my selfe unto him 
that oweth me nothing. Both which conditions being re- 
moved, let them not looke for any cumbersome, negotious 
and carefull matter at my hands (for I have denounced open 
warre unto all manner of carke and care) I am commodi- 
ously easie and ready in times of any bodies necessitie. 
And I have also more avoyded to receive, then sought to 
give : which (as Aristotle saith) is also more facile. My 
fortune hath afforded me small meanes to benefit others, 
and that little she hath bestowed on me, the same hath 
she also meanely and indifferently placed. Had shee made 
mee to be so borne that I might have kept some ranke 
amongst men, I would then have beene ambitious in pro- 
curing to be beloved, but never to be feared or admired. 
Shall I expresse it more insolentlie? I would have had as 
much regard unto pleasing, as unto profiting. Cyrus doth 
most wiselie, and by the mouth of an excellent Captaine 
and also a better Philosopher, esteeme his bountie and 
praise his good deedes, farre beyond his valour and above 
his warlike conquests. And Scipio the elder wheresoever 
hee seeketh to prevaile and set forth himselfe, rateth his 
debonairitie and valueth his humanitie above his courage 
and beyond his victories : and hath ever this glorious say- 
ing in his mouth : That hee hath left his enemies as much 
cause to love him, as his friends. I will therefore say, 
that if a man must thus owe any thing, it ought to be under 
a more lawfull title, then that whereof I speake, to which 
the law of this miserable warre doth engage me, and not 
of so great a debt, as that of my totall preservation and 
whole estate : which doth unreparablie overwhelme mee. I 
have a thousand times gone to bed in mine house, imagin- 
ing I should the very same night, either have beene be- 
trayed or slaine in my bed : compounding and conditioning 

214 Montaigne's Essayes 

with fortune, that it might be without apprehension of 
feareful astonishment and languishment ; And after my 
praiers, have cried out, 

Impius hccc tarn culta novalia miles hahehit? 

ViRG, Eclo. i. II. 

Shall these our grounds so deckt and drest, 
By godlesse souldiers be possest ? 

What remedie? It is the place where my selfe and most 
of my ancestors were borne : therein have they placed their' 
affection and their name. Wee harden our selves unto 
whatsoever wee accustome our selves. And to a wretched 
condition, as ours is, custome hath beene a most favourable 
present, given us by nature, which enureth and lulleth our 
sense asleepe, to the suffring of divers evils. Civil! warres 
have this one thing worse then other warres, to cause every 
one of us to make a watch-tower of his owne house. 

Quam miserum, porta vitam muroque tueri, 
Vixque sua; tutum viribus esse domust 

Ovid. Trist. iv. EL i. 69. 

How hard with gate and wall our life to gard, 
And scarce be safe in our owne houses bard ! 

It is an irksome extremitie, for one to be troubled andi 
pressed even in his owne houshold and domestical! rest. 
The place wherein I dwell, is ever both the first and last 
to the batterie of our troubles : and where peace is [never] 
absolutely discerned, 

Turn quoque cum pax est, trepidant formidine belli. 

LucAN. i. 256. 
Ev'n when in peace they are, 
They quake for feare of warre. 

— quoties pacem for tuna lacessit, 
Hac iter est bellis, melius fortuna dedisses 
Orbe suh Eoo sedem, gcUdaqtie sub Arcto, 
Errantesque domos. — Ibid. 252. 

As oft as fortune troubleth peace their race, 

Warres makes this way : fortune with better grace, 

In th' Easterne world thou shouldst have giv'n them place, 

Or wandring tents for warre, under the cold North-starre. 

I sometimes draw the meanes to strengthen my selfe 
against these considerations, from carelesnesse and idle- 
nesse : which also in some sort bring us into resolution. 
It often befalleth me, with some pleasure, to imagine what 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 215 

mortall dangers are, and to expect them. I do even hood- 
vvinkt, with my head in my bosome and with stupiditie, 
plunge my selfe into death, without considering or knowing 
it, as into a deepe, hollow and bottomlesse abysse, which 
at one leape doth swallow me up, and at an instant doth 
cast me into an eternall slumber, full of insipiditie and indo- 
lencie. And in these short, sudden or violent deaths, the 
consequence I fore-see of them, aifords me more comfort 
then the effect of feare. They say, that even as life is not 
the hesty because it is long, so death is the best, because 
it is short. I estrange not my selfe so much by being dead, 
as I enter into confidence with dying. I enwrap and 
shrowd my selfe in that storme, which shall blinde and 
furiously wrap me, with a ready and insensible charge. 
Yet if it hapned (as some gardners say) that those Roses 
and Violets are ever the sweeter and more odoriferous, 
that grow neere unto Garlike and Onions, forsomuch as 
they sucke and draw all the ill savours of the ground unto 
them ; so that these depraved natures would draw and 
sucke all the venome of mine aire, and infection of my 
climate ; and by their neerenesse unto me make me so 
much the better and purer, that I might not lose all. That 
is not, but of this, something may be, forsomuch as good- 
nesse is the fairer and more attracting when it is rare, and 
that contrarietie stifneth,and diversitie enclosethwell doing 
in it selfe, and by the jealousie of opposition and glory, it 
doth enflame it. Theeves and stealers (godamercie their 
kindnesse) have in particular nothing to say to me : no 
more have I to them. I should then have to do with over- 
many sorts of men. Alike consciences lurke under divers 
kinds of garments, Alike crueltie, disloialtie and stealing. 
And so much the worse, by how much it is more base, more 
safe and more secret under the colour of lawes. I hate 
lesse an open-professed injurie, then a deceiving traiterous 
v»:rong, an hostile and war-like, then a peacefull and law- 
full. Our feaver hath seased upon a body, which it hath 
not much empaired. The fire was in it, but now the flame 
hath taken hold of it. The report is greater, the hurt but 
little. I ordinarily answere such as demand reasons for my 
voiages : That / know what I shunne, but wot not what I 
seeke. If one tell mee, there may be as little sound health 
amongst strangers, and that their manners are neither 

2i6 Montaigne's Essayes 

better nor purer, then ours : I answere first, that it is very 
hard : 

Tarn niultcc scelerum fades. — ViRG. Georg. i. 506. 

The formes so manifold 
Of wickednesse we hold. 

Secondly, that it is ever a gaine, to change a had estate 
for an uncertaine. And that others evils should not touch 
us so neare as ours. I will not forget this, that I can never 
mutinie so much against France, but I must needes looke 
on Paris with a favourable eye : It hath my hart from my 
infancy, whereof it hath befalne me as of excellent thins^s : 
the more other faire and stately cities I have scene since, 
the more hir beauty hath power and doth still usurpingly 
gaine upon my affection. I love that Citie for her owne 
sake, and more in her onely subsisting and owne being, 
then when it is full fraught and embellished with forraine 
pompe and borrowed garish ornaments : I love her so ten- 
derly, that even hir spotts, her blemishes and hir warts are 
deare unto me. I am no perfect Frenchman, but by this 
great-matchlesse Citie, great in people, great in regard of 
the felicitie of her situation ; but above al, great and incom- 
parable in varietie and diversitie of commodities : The 
glory of France, and one of the noblest and chlefe orna- 
ments of the world. God of his mercy free hir, and chase 
away all our divisions from hir : Being entirely united to 
hir selfe, I finde hir defended from all other violence. I 
forewarne hir, that of all factions, that shall be the worst, 
which shall breed discord and sedition in hir. And for hir 
sake, I onely feare hir selfe. And surely, I am in as great 
feare for hir, as for any other part of our state. So long 
as she shall continue, so long shall I never want a home or 
retreat, to retire and shrowd my selfe at all times : a thing 
able to make me forget the regret of all other retreates. 
Not because Socrates hath said it, but because such is in 
truth my humour, and peradventure not without some 
excuse, to esteeme all men as my country-men ; and as I 
kindly embrace a Polonian as a Frenchman ; postposing 
this naturall bond, to universall and common. I am not 
greatly strucken with the pleasantnesse of naturall aire. 
Acquaintances altogether new and wholly mine, doe in my 
conceit countervaile the worth of all other vulgar and 
casuall acquaintances of our neighbours. Friendships 
meerely acquired by our selves, doe ordinarily exceed those, 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 217 

to which wee are joyned, either by communication of cH- 
mate, or affinity of blood. Nature hath plac't us in the 
world free and unbound, wee emprison our selves into cer- 
taine streights : As the King-s of Persia, who bound them- 
Ives never to drinke other water, then of the river 
Choaspez; foolishly renouncing all lawfull right of use 
in all other waters : and for their regard dried up all 
the rest of the world. What Socrates did in his latter 
dayes, to deeme a sentence of banishment worse, then a 
doome of death against himselfe, being of the mind I am 
now, I shall never be neither so base minded, nor so strictly 
habituated in my country, that I would follow him. The 
celestiall lives, have divers images, which I embrace more 
by estimation, then by affection. And some too extraordi- 
nary, and so highly elevated, which because I am not able 
to conceive, I cannot embrace by estimation. This humor 
was very tenderly apprehended by him, who deemed all 
the world to be his City. True it is, he disdained pere- 
grinations, and had not much set his foote beyond the 
territory of Athejis. What, if he bewailed the mony his 
friend offred to lay out, to disingage his life, and refused to 
come out of prison, by the intercession of others, because 
he would not disobey the lawes, in a time wherein they 
were otherwise so corrupted ? These examples are of the 
first kind for me. Of the second there are others, which 
I could find in the very same man. Many of these rare 
examples exceed the power of my action ; but some exceed 
also the force of my judgement. Besides these reasons, 
I deem travell to he a profitable exercise. The minde hath 
therein a continuall [excercitation] , to marke things un- 
knoivne, and note new objects. And as I have often said, 
/ kfioiv no better schoole, to fashion a mans life, then un- 
cessantly to propose unto him the diversitie of so many 
other mens lives y customes, humors and fantasies; and 
make him taste or apprehend one so perpetuall variety of 
our natures shapes or formes. Therein the body is neither 
absolutely idle nor wholly troubled, and, that moderate 
agitation doth put him into breath. My selfe, as crazed 
with the collicke as I am, can sit eight, yea sometimes ten 
houres on horse-backe; without wearinesse or tyring. 
Vires ultra sortemque senectce. — Virg. yEn, vi. 114. 

Beyond strength ordinary, 
Which old yeeres use to carry. 
Ill 442 H 

2i8 Montaigne's Essayes 

No weather is to me so contrary, as the scorching- heat ol 
the parching Sunne. For, these Umhrels or riding cana- 
pies, which since the ancient Romans, the ItaHans use, doe 
more weary the armes, then ease the head. I would faine- 
faine know what industry it was in the Persians, sc 
anciently, and even in the infancy of luxuriousnesse (as 
Xenophon reporteth) to fanne themselves, and at theii 
pleasures to make cold shades. I love rainy and durt\ 
weather, as duckes doe. The change either of aire oi 
climate doth nothing distemper mee. All heavens are alike 
to me, I am never vexed or beaten, but with internal] 
alterations, such as I produce my selfe, which surprise and 
possesse me least in times of Wayfaring. It is a hard 
matter to make me resolve of any journey : but if I be once 
on the way, I hold out as long and as farre, as another. 
I strive as much in small, as I labour in great enterprises : 
and to prepare my selfe for a short journey or to visite a 
friend, as to undertake a farre set voiage. I have learnt 
to frame my journeyes after the Spanish fashion, all a1 
once and out-right, great and reasonable. And in extreme 
heats, I travell by night, from Sunne-set to Sunne rising 
The other fashion, confusedly and in haste to bait by tht 
way and dine, especially in Winter, when the daies are sc 
short, is both troublesome for man, and incommodious for 
horse. My Jades are the better, and hold out longer. No 
horse did ever faile me, that held out the first daies 
journey with me. I water them in all waters, and 
only take care of their last watering, that before I come tc 
mine Inne they have way enough to heat their water. My 
slothfulnesse to rise in the morning, alloweth such as follow 
mee sufficient leasure to dine, before wee take horse. As 
for me, I never feed over-late : I commonly get an appetite 
in eating, and no otherwise : I am never hungry but at the 
table. Some complaine, that being maried, and well 
strucken in yeeres, I have enured my selfe, and beene 
pleased to continue this exercise. They doe me wrong : 
The best time for a man to leave his house, is when he hath 
so ordered and settled the same, that it may continue with- 
out him : and when he hath so disposed his affaires, that 
they may answere the ancient course and wonted forme. 
It is much more indiscretion, and an argument of want of 
judgement, to goe from home, and leave no trusty guard 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 219 

in his house, and 'ffvhich for lacke of care may be slow or 
forgetfull in providing- for such necessities, as in your 
absence it may stand in need of. The most profitable know- 
ledge, mid honourahlest occupation for a matron or mother 
of a familie, is the occupation and knowledge of huswiferie. 
I see divers covetous, hut few huswifes. It is the mis- 
tresse-qualitie that all men should seeke after, and above 
all other endeavour to finde : as the onely dowry, that 
serveth, either to ruine and overthrow, or to save and en- 
rich our houses. Let no man speake to me of it ; according 
as experience hath taught me, I require in a maried woman 
the Oeconomicall vertue above all others. Wherein I 
would have her absolutely skilfull, since by my absence I 
commit the whole charge, and bequeath the full government 
of my houshold to her. 

I see (and that to my griefe) in divers houses the master 
or goodman come home at noone all weary, durty and 
dusty, with drudging and toiling about his businesse ; 
when the mistresse or good-wife is either scarce up, or if 
shee bee, she is yet in her closet, dressing, decking, smug- 
ging, or trimming of her selfe. It is a thing onely fitting 
Queenes or Princes ; whereof some doubt might be made. 
It is ridiculous that the idlenesse, and unjust that the lither- 
nesse of our wives should he fostered with our sweat, and 
^maintained hy our travel: No man (as neere as I can) shall 
fortune to have a more free and more absolute use, or a 
more quiet and more liquid fruition of his goods, then I 
have. // the hushand hring matter ; nature her selfe would 
have women to hring forme. Concerning duties of wed- 
locke-friendship, which some happily imagine to be inter- 
essed or prejudiced by the husbands absence, I beleeve it 
not. Contrariwise, it is a kinde of intelligence, that easily 
growes cold by an over-continuall assistance, and decaieth 
by assiduitie ; for, to stand still at racke and manger hreed- 
eth a satietie. Every strange woman seemeth to us an 
honest woman : And all feele by experience, that a con- 
tinuall seeing one another, cannot possibly represent the 
pleasure, men take by parting and meeting againe. These 
interruptions fill mee with a new kinde of affection, toward 
mine owne people ; and yeeld me the use of my house more 
pleasing : vicissitude doth now and then en-earnest my 
minde toward one, and then toward another. I am not 

220 Montaigne's Essayes 

ignorant how true amitie hath arines long enough, tc 
embrace, to claspe and holde from one corner of the worla 
unto another: namely in this, where is a continuall com- 
munication of offices, that cause the obligation, and revive 
the remembrance thereof. The stoickes say, that there is 
so great an affinitie and mutual relation, betweene wise 
men, that he who dineth in France, feedeth his companior 
in j^gypt; and if one of them doe but hould up his finger, 
where ever it bee, all the wise men disperced upon the 
habitable land, feele a kinde of aid thereby. Jovissance 
and possession, appertaine chiefly unto imagination. It 
embraceth more earnestly and uncessantly what she goeth 
to fetch, then what wee touch. Summon and count all your 
daily amusements ; and you shall finde, you are then 
furthest and most absent from your friend, when he is 
present with you. His assistance releaseth your attention, 
and giveth your thoughts libertie, at all times and upon 
every occasion, to absent themselves. If I be at Rome, or 
any where else, I hold, I survay, and governe my house 
and the commodities, which I have left about and in it. I 
even see my walles, my trees, my grasse and my rents, to 
stand, to grow, to decay and to diminish, within an inch 
or two of that I should doe when I am at home. 

Ante oculos errat domus, errat forma locorum. 
My house is still before mine eies, 
There still the forme of places lies. 

If we but onely enjoy what we touch, farewell our crownes 
when they are in our confers, and adiew to our children, 
when they are abroad or a hunting ; we would have them 
neerer. In the garden is it farre off? within halfe a dales 
journey? What, within ten leagues, is it farre or neere? 
If it be neere: what is eleven, twelve, or thirteene? and 
so step by step. Verely that woman who can prescribe 
unto her husband, how many steps end that which is neere, 
and which step in number begins the distance she counts 
farre, I am of opinion, that she stay him betweene both. 

— excludat jurgia fnis. 

HoR, ii. Epist. i. 38. 
Let the conclusion, Exclude confusion. 

Utor permisso, caudccque pilos ut equities 
Paulatitn vello : et demo untim, demo etiam untim 
Dum cadat elusus ratione ruentis acervi. — Ibid. 45. 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 221 

I use the grant, and plucke by one and one 

The horse-taile haires, till when the bush is gone 

I leave the Jade a curtail taile or none. 

And let them boldly call for Philosophy to helpe them. To 
whom some might reproach, since she neither discerneth 
the one nor other end of the joynt, betweene the overmuch 
and the little ; the long and the short, the light and the 
heavie, the neare and the farre, since she neither knowes 
the beginning nor ending thereof, that she doth very uncer- 
tainly judge of the middle. Rerum natura nullani nobis 
dedit cognitionem finiutn: Nature hath affoorded us no 
knowledge of her endes. Are they not yet wives and 
friendes of the deceased, that are not at the end of this, but 
in the other world? wee embrace both those that have 
beene, and those which are not yet, not onely the absent. 
We did not condition, when we were married, continually 
to keep our selves close hugging one another, as some, 1 
wot not what little creatures doe, we see daily ; or as those 
bewitched people of Karenti, in a kinde of dogged manner. 
And a woman should not have hir eyes so greedily or so 
dotingly fixed on hir husbands fore-part, that if neede shall 
require, she may not view his hinder-partes. But might 
not the saying of that cunning Painter, who could so excel- 
lently set foorth their humours and pourtray their con- 
ditions, fitly bee placed heere, lively to represent the cause 
of their complaints? 

Uxor, si cesses, aut te amare cogitat, 

Aut tete amari, aut potare, aut animo obsequi, 

Et tibi bene esse soli, cum sibi sit male. 

Ter. Adelph. act. i. so. i. 

If you be slow, your wife thinkes that in love you are, 
Or are belov'd, or drinke, or all for pleasure care. 
And that you onely fare-well, when she ill doth fare. 

Or might it be, that opposition and contradiction doe 
naturally entertaine, and of themselves nourish them : and 
that they are sufficiently accommodated, provided they dis- 
turbe and incommode you? In truly-perfect friendship, 
wherein I presume to have some skill and well-grounded 
experience; I give my selfe more unto my friend, than I 
draw him unto me. I doe not onely rather love to do him 
good, then he should doe any to me : but also, that he 
should rather doe good unto himselfe, then unto me : For 

222 Montaigne's Essayes ; 

then doth he me most good, when he doth it to himselfe. 
And if absence be either pleasing or beneficiall unto him, 
it is to me much more pleasing, then his presence : and 
that may not properly be termed ahsence^ -where ineanes 
and waies may be found to enter-advertise one another. I 
have heeretofore made good use, and reaped commoditie by 
our absence and distance. Wee better replenished the 
benefit, and extended further the possession of life, by 
being divided and farre-asunder : He lived, he rejoiced, and 
he saw for me, and I for him, as fully, as if he had beene 
present : Being together, one partie was idle : We con- 
founded one another. The separation of the place, made 
the conjunction of our mindes and wills, the richer. This 
insatiate and greedy desire of corporall presence doth some- 
ivhat accuse the weakenesse in the jovissance of soules. 
Concerning age, which some allege against me, it is cleane 
contrary. It is for youth, to subject and bondage it selfe' 
to common opinions, and by force to constraine it selfe for 
others. It may fit the turne of both, the people and it selfe : 
IVe have but overmuch to doe with our selves alone. 
According as naturall commodities faile us, let us sustaine 
our selves by artificiall meanes. It is injustice, to excuse 
youth in following her pleasures, and forbid age to devise 
and seeke them. When I was yong, I concealed my wanton 
and covered my youthfull passions, with wit : and now being^ 
aged, I endevour to passe the sadde and incident to yeeres,: 
with sport and debauches. Yet doe Platoes lawes forbid 
men to travell abroad, before they are forty or fifty yeares: 
of age, that so their travell may sort more profitable, andi 
proove more instructive. I should more willingly consent 
to this other second article of the said lawes, which for-l 
biddeth men to wander abroad, after they are once three-! 
score. Of which age, few that travell farre journies; 
returne home againe. What care I for that? I undertake 
it not, either to returne or to perfect the same. I onely 
undertake it to be in m.otion : So long as the motion 
pleaseth me, and I walke that I may walke. Those runne 
not, that runne after a Benefice or after a Hare: But they 
runne, that runne at barriers and to exercise their running. 
My desseigne is every where divisible, it is not grounded on 
great hopes : each day makes an end of it. Even so is my 
lifes voiaere directed. Yet have I scene divers farre coun- 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 223 

tries, where I would have beene glad to have beene staied. 
Why not? If Chrysippus, Diogenes j Cleanthes , Antipater 
and Zeno, with so many other wise men of that roughly- 
severe, and severely-strict Sect, forsooke their Countries 
(without just cause to be offended with them) onely to enjoy 
another aire? Truly the greatest griefe of my peregrina- 
tions, is, that I cannot have a firme resolution, to establish 
my abiding where I would. And that I must ever resolve 
with my selfe to returne, for to accommodate my selfe unto 
common humors. If I should feare to die in any other 
place, then where I was borne ; if I thought I should die 
lesse at my ease, farre from mine owne people : I would 
hardly goe out of France y nay I should scarcely goe out of 
mine owne parish, without feeling some dismay. I feele 
death ever pinching me by the throat, or pulling me by the 
backe : But I am of another mould : to me it is ever one, 
and at all times the same. Nevertheles if I were to chuse, 
I thinke it should rather be on horsebacke, than in a bed : 
from my home, and farre from my friends. There is more 
harts-sorrow, than comfort, in taking ones last farewell of 
his friends. I doe easily forget or neglect these duties or 
complements of our common or civill courtesie. For, of 
Offices appertaining to unaffected amitie, the same is the 
most displeasing and offensive : And I should as willingly 
forget to give a body that great adiew, or eternall farewell. 
If a body reape any commoditie by this assistance, he 
also findes infinite inconveniences in it. I have scene divers 
die most piteously, compassed and beset round with their 
friends and servants : Such multitudes, and thronging of 
people doth stifle them. It is against reas^on, and a testi- 
mony of smal affection, and little care they have that you 
should die at rest. One offendeth your eies, another 
molesteth your eares, the third vexeth your mouth : You 
have neither sense nor limme, or parte of your body, but is 
tormented and grieved. Your hart is ready to burst for 
pittle to heare your friends moanes and complaints ; and to 
rive asunder with spite to heare peradventure some of their 
wailings and moanes, that are but fained and counterfet. 
If a man have ever had a milde or tender nature, being 
weake and readie to die, he must then necessarily have it 
more tender and relenting. It is most requisite, that in so 
urgen* a necessitie, one have a gentle hand and fitly applied 

224 Montaigne's Essayes 

to his senses, to scratch him where he itcheth ; or else he 
ought not be clawed at all. // wee must needs have the , 
helpe of a Midwife^ to bring us into this world, there is\ 
reason we should also have the aiding-hand of a wise man, \ 
to deliver us out of the same. Such a one, and therewithal! i 
a true friend, should a man before-hand purchase very 
deare, only for the service of such an occasion. I am not , 
yet come to that disdainfull vigor, which so fortifieth it 
selfe, that at such times nothing aideth, nor nothing 
troubleth : I flie a lower pitch. I seeke to squat my selfe, 
and steale from that passage : not by feare, but by Art. My 
intent is not in such an action, to make either triall or shew 
of my constancy. Wherefore? Because, then shall the 
right and interest I have in reputation cease. I am content 
with a death united in it selfe, quiet and solitarie, wholly 
mine, convenient to my retired and private life. Cleane 
contrary to the Roman superstition, where he was judged 
unhappy, that died without speaking, and had not his 
neerest friends to close his eies. I have much adoe to com- 
fort my selfe, without being troubled to comfort others : 
cares and vexations enow in my minde, without needing 
circumstances to bring me new; and sufficient matter to 
entertaine my selfe, without borrowing any. This share 
belongs not to the part of societie : It is the act of one man 
alone. Let us live, laugh and be merry amongst our 
friends, but die and yeeld up the ghost amongst strangers, 
and such as we know not. Hee who hath money in his 
purse, shall ever finde some ready to turne his head, make 
his hedde, ruhbe his feet, attend him, and that will trouble 
and importune him no longer than hee list: and will ever 
shew him an indifferent and well-composed countenance, 
and without grumbling or grudging give a man leave to 
doe what he please, and complaine as he list. I dayly 
endevour by discourse to shake off this childish humour 
and inhumane conceit, which causeth, that by our griefes 
and paines we ever desire to moove our friends to compas- 
sion and sorrow for us, and with a kinde of sympathy to 
condole our miseries and passions. We endeare our incon- 
veniences beyond measure, to exact teares from them : And 
the constancy we so much commend in all others, 
undauntedly to endure all evill fortune, we accuse and 
upbraid to our neerest allies, when they molest us ; we are 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 225 

not contented they should have a sensible feeling of our 
calamities, if they doe not also afflict themselves for them. 
A man should as much as he can set foorth and extend his 
joy ; but to the utmost of his power, suppresse and abridge 
his sorrow. He that will causelesly be moaned, and sans 
reason, deserveth nat to be pitied when he shall have cause 
and reason for it. To he ever co^nplaimng and alwaies 
moaning, is the way never to be moaned and seldome to he 
pitied: and so often to seeme over passionately pitifully is 
the meane to make no man feelingly ruthfull towards 
others. He that makes himself e dead being alive, is subject 
to be accounted alive when he is dying. I have scene some 
take pepper in the nose, forsomuch as they were told that 
they had a cheerefull countenance ; that they looked well ; 
that they had a temperate pulse : to force laughter, because 
some betraied their recovery : and hate their health, be- 
cause it was not regreetable. And which is more, they were 
no women. I for the most, represent my infirmities such as 
they are : And shunne such words as are of evill presage ; 
and avoid composed exclamations. If not glee and mirth, 
at least an orderly-setled countenance of the by-standers 
and assistants, is sufficiently-convenient to a wise and dis- 
creet sicke-man, who though he see himselfe in a contrary 
state, he will not picke a quarell with health. He is 
pleased to behold the same, sound and strong in others, 
and at least for company-sake to enjoy his part of it. 
Though he feele and finde himselfe to faint and sinke 
downe, he doth not altogether reject the conceits and 
imaginations of life, nor doth he avoid common entertain- 
ments. I will studie sicknesse when I am in health, when it 
comes, it will really enough made her impression, without 
the helpe of my imagination. We deliberately prepare our 
selves before-hand for any voiage we undertake, and 
therein are resolved : the houre is set when [we] wil take 
horse, and we give it to our company, in whose favour we 
extend it. I finde this unexpected profit by the publication 
of my maners, that in some sort it serveth me for a rule. 
I am sometimes surprised with this consideration, not to 
betray the history of my life. This publike declaration, 
bindes me to keepe my selfe within my course, and not to 
contradict the image of my conditions : commonly lesse 
disfigured and gaine-said, then the malignitie and infirmitie 

226 Montaigne's Essayes 

of moderne judgements doth beare. The uniformitie and 
singlenesse of my manners, produceth a visage of easie 
interpretation ; but because the fashion of them is some- 
what new and strange, and out of use, it giveth detraction 
to faire play. Yet is it true, that to him, who will goe about 
loyally to injure me, me thinkes I doe sufficiently affoord 
him matter, whereby he may detract and snarle at my 
avowed and knowen imperfections, and wherewith hee may 
bee satisfied, without vaine contending and idle skirmish- 
ing. If my selfe by preoccupating his discovery and accu- 
sation, hee thinkes I barre him of his snarling, it is good 
reason hee take his right, towards amplification and exten- 
sion : Offence hath her rights beyond justice : And that the 
vices, whereof I shew him the rootes in mee, hee should 
amplifie them to trees. Let him not only employ thereunto 
those that possesse mee, but those which but threaten me. 
Injurious vices, both in qualitie and in number. Let him 
beate me that way. I should willingly embrace the example 
of Dion the Philosopher. Antigonus going about to scoffe 
and quip at him touching his birth and offspring, he inter- 
rupted him and tooke the word out of his mouth : I am 
(said hee) the sonne of a bond slave, a butcher, branded 
for a rogue, and of a whoore, whom my father by reason 
of his base fortune, tooke to wife : Both were punished 
for some misdeede. Being a child, an orator bought me 
as a slave, liking me for my beautie and comelinesse ; and 
dying, left mee all his goods ; which having transported 
into this citie of Athens, I have applied my selfe unto Philo- 
sophy. Let not Historians busie themselves in seeking 
newes of mee, I will at large blazon my selfe, and plainely 
tell them the whole discourse. A generous and free-minded 
confession doth disable a reproch and disarme an injurie. 
So it is, that v/hen all cards be told : me seemes, that I 
am as oft commended as dispraised beyond reason. As also 
me thinks, that even from my infancie, both in ranke and 
degree of honour, I have had place given me, rather above 
and more, than lesse and beneath that which appertained to 
me. I should better like to be in a countrie, where these 
orders might either be reformed or contemned. Among 
men, after that striving or altercation for the prerogative 
or upper hand in going or sitting, exceedeth three replies, 
it becommeth incivill. I neither feare to yeeld and give 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 227 

place, nor to follow and proceed unjustly, so I may avoid 
such irkesome and importunate contestations. And never 
did man desire precedencie or place before me, but I 
quitted the same without grudging-. Besides the profit I 
reape by writing of my selfe, I have hoped for this other, 
that if ever it might happen my humours should please or 
sympathize with some honest man, he would before my 
death seeke to be acquainted with me, or to overtake mee. 
I have given him much ground : For, whatsoever a long 
acquaintance or continuall familiarity might have gained 
him in many wearisome yeares, the same hath hee in three 
dayes fully seene in this Register, and that more safely 
and more exactly. A pleasant fantazie is this of mine ; 
many things I would be loath to tell a particular man, I 
utter to the whole world. And concerning my most secret 
thoughts and inward knowledge, I send my dearest friends 
to a Stationers shop. 

Excutienda damus prcecordin. 

Pers. Sat. V. 22. 

Our very entrailes wee 
Lay forth for you to see. 

If by so good markes and tokens, I had ever knowen or 
heard of any one man, that in this humour had beene answer- 
able to me, I would assuredly have wandred very farre to 
finde him out : For, the exceeding joy of a sortable and in 
one consent agreeing company, cannot (in mine opinion) be 
sufficiently endeared or purchased at too high a rate. Oh 
God ! who can expresse the value or conceive the true worth 
of a friend? How true is that ancient golden saying, that 
the use of a friend is more necessary and pleasing, then of 
the elements, water and fire. But to returne to my former 
discourse : There is then no great inconvenience in dying 
farre from home and abroad. Wee esteeme it a part of duty 
and decencie to withdraw our selves for naturall actions, 
lesse hideous and lesse disgracefull then this. But also those 
that come unto that, in languishing manner to draw a long 
space of life, should not happily wish with their miserie to 
trouble a whole familie. Therefore did the Indians of a 
certaine countrie deeme it just and lawfull, to kill him that 
should fall into such necessitle. And in another of their 
Provinces they thought it meet to forsake him, and as well 
as hee could leave him alone to seeke to save himselfe. To 

228 Montaigne's Essayes 

whom at last, proove they not themselves tedious ant 
intolerable ? Common offices proceed not so farre. Perforce 
you teach cruelty unto your best friends ; obdurating b] 
long use, both wife and children, not to feele, nor to con* 
ceive, nor to moane your evils any longer. The groanes and 
out-cries of my chollicke, cause no more ruth and wailing 
in any body. And should we conceive pleasure by their 
conversation (which seldome hapneth, by reason of the dis- 
paritie of conditions, which easily produceth either con- 
tempt or envy towards what man soever) is it not too-too 
much, therwith to abuse a whole age? The more I should 
see them with a good heart to straine themselves for me, 
the more should I bewaile their paine. The law of curtesie 
alloweth us to leane upon others, hut not so unmanerly to 
lie upon them and underpropt our selves in their ruine. As 
he who caused little infants to be slaine, that with their 
innocent blood he might be cured of a malady he had. Or 
another who was continually stored with young tendrels or 
lasses, to keepe his old frozen limbs warme a nights, and 
entermix the sweetnesse of their breath with his old-stink- 
ing and offensive vapours. Decrepitude is a solitary 
quality. I am sociable even unto excesse, yet doe I thinke 
it reasonable, at last to substract my opportunity from the 
sight of the world, and hatch it in my selfe. Let me shrowd 
and shrugge my selfe into my shell, as a tortoise : and 
learne to see men, without taking hold of them. I should 
outrage them in so steepe a passage. It is now high time 
to turne from the company. But here will some say, that 
in these farre journies you may peradventure fall into some 
miserable dog-hole or poore cottage, where you shall want 
all needfull things. To whom I answere, that for things 
most necessary in such cases, I ever carry most of them 
with me : And that, where-ever wee are, wee cannot possibly 
avoid fortune, if she once take upon her to persecute us. 
When I am sicke, I want nothing that is extraordinary : 
what nature cannot worke in me, I will not have a Bolus,, 
or a glister to effect. At the very beginning of my agues 
or sicknesses that cast me downe, whilst I am yet whole in 
my senses and neere unto health, I reconcile my selfe to 
God by the last duties of a Christian ; whereby I finde my 
selfe free and discharged ; and thinke I have so much more 
reason and authority over my sicknesse. I finde lesse want 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 229 

of notaries and counsell, then of Physitions. What I have 
not disposed of my affaires or setled of my state when I 
was in perfect health, let none expect I should doe it being 
sicke. Whatever I will doe for the service of death, is 
alwayes ready done. I dare not delay it one onely day. 
And if nothing be done, it is as much to say, that either 
some doubt hath delaide the choise : For, sometimes it is a 
good choice, not to chuse at all: Or that absolutely I never 
intended to doe any thing. I write my booke to few men, 
and to few yeares. Had it beene a matter of lasting con- 
tinuance, it should have beene compiled in a better and 
more polished language : According to the continuall varia- 
tion, that hitherto hath followed our French tongue, who 
may hope, that it's present forme shall be in use fifty yeares 
hence? It dayly changeth and slips our hands : and since 
I could speake the same, it is much altred and wellnigh halfe 
varied. We say it is now come to a full perfection. There 
is no age but saith as much of hirs. It lies not in my power, 
so long as it glideth and differeth and altereth as it doth, to 
keepe it at a stay. It is for excellent and profitable com- 
positions to fasten it unto them, whose credit shall either 
diminish or encrease according to the fortune of our state. 
For all that, I feare not to insert therein divers private 
articles, whose use is consumed amongst men living now 
adayes : and which concerne the particular knowledge of 
some, that shall further see into it, then with a common 
understanding. W^hen al is done, I would not (as I often 
see the memory of the deceased tossed too and fro) that 
men should descant and argue, Thus and thus he judged, 
thus he lived, thus he merit: had he spoken mhen his life 
left him^ he would have given I wot what: There is no man 
knew him better then my selfe. Now, as much as modestie 
and decorum doth permit me, I here give a taste of my 
inclinations and an essay of my affection : which I doe more 
freely and more willingly by word of mouth, to any that 
shall desire to be throughly informed of them. But so it is, 
that if any man shall looke into these memorialls, he shall 
finde that either I have said all, or desseigned all. What 
I cannot expresse, the same I point at with my finger. 

Verum animo satis hcec vestigia parva sagaci 
Sunt, per quce possis cognoscere ccstera tute. 

LucR. i. 419. 

230 Montaigne's Essayes 

But this small footing to a quicke-sente minde 
May serve, whereby safely the rest to linde. 

I leave nothing to bee desired or divined of mee. If one 
must entertaine himselfe with them, I would have it to be 
truly and justly. I would willingly come from the other 
world, to give him the lie, that should frame me other then 
I had beene : were it he meant to honour mee. I see that 
of the living, men never speake according to truth, and 
they are ever made to he what they are not. And if with 
might and maine I had not upheld a friend of mine whom 
I have lately lost, he had surely beene mangled and torne 
in a thousand contrary shapes. But to make an end of my 
weake humours : I confesse, that in travelling I seldome 
alight in any place or come to any Inne, but first of all I 
cast in my minde whether I may conveniently lie there, if 
I should chaunce to fall sicke, or dying, die at my ease 
and take my death quietly. I will, as nere as I can be , 
lodged in some convenient part of the house, and in par- 
ticular from all noise or stinking savours ; in no close, 
filthy or smoaky chamber. I seeke to flatter death by these 
frivolous circumstances : Or as I may rather say, to dis- 
charge my selfe from all other trouble or encombrance ; 
that so I may wholly apply and attend her, who without 
that shall happily lie very heavy upon me. I will have her 
take a full share of my lives eases and commodities ; it is a 
great part of it and of much consequence, and I hope it 
shall not belie what is past. Death hath some formes 
more easie then others, and assumeth divers qualities; 
according to all mens fantazies. Among the naturall ones, 
that proceeding of weakenesse and heavy dulnesse, to me 
seemeth gentle and pleasant. Among the violent I imagine 
a precipice more hardly then a ruine that overwhelmes me : 
and a cutting blow with a sword, then a shot of an harque- 
buse : and I would rather have chosen to drinke the potion 
of Socrates, then wound my selfe as Cato did. And though 
it be all one yet doth my imagination perceive a differ- 
ence, as much as is betweene death and life, to cast my 
selfe into a burning fornace, or in the channell of a shallow 
river. So foolishly doth our feare respect more the meaner 
then the effect. It is but one instant; but of such moment, 
that to passe the same according to my desire, I would 
willingly renounce many of my lives dayes. Since all mens 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 231 

fantazies, finde either excesse or diminution in her sharpy 
nesse ; since every man hath some choise betweene the 
formes of dying-, let us trie a Httle further, whether we can 
finde out some one, free from all sorrow and g-riefe. Might 
not one also make it seeme voluptuous, as did those who 
died with Anthonie, and Cleopatra? I omit to speake of 
the sharpe and exemplar efforts, that Philosophy and 
religion produce. But amongst men of no great fame, some 
have beene found (as one Petronius, and one Tigillinus at 
Rome) engaged to make themselves away, who by the 
tendernesse of their preparations have in a manner lulled 
the same asleepe. They have made it passe and glide away, 
even in the midst of the security of their accustomed 
pastimes and wanton recreations : Amongst harlots and 
good felowes ; no speech of comfort, no mention of will or 
testament, no ambitious affectation of constancie, no dis- 
course of their future condition, no compunction of sinnes 
committed, no apprehension of their soules-health, ever 
troubling them ; amid sports, playes, banketting, surfetting, 
chambering, jesting, musicke and singing of amorous 
verses : and all such popular and common entertainements. 
Might not wee imitate this manner of resolution in more 
honest affaires and more commendable attempts ? And since 
there are deaths good unto wise men and good unto fooles^ 
let us find some one that may he good unto such as are 
hetweene both. My imagination presents me some easie 
and milde countenance thereof, and (since we must all die) 
to bee desired. The tyrants of Rome have thought, they 
gave that criminall offender his life, to whom they gave 
the free choise of death. But Theophrastiis a Philosopher so 
delicate, so modest and so wise, was he not forced by 
reason, to dare to utter this verse, latinized by Cicero : 

Vitam regit fortuna non sapientia. 

Cic. Tusc. Qu. V. Theoph. Calisth. 

Fortune our life doth rule, 
Not wisedome of the schoole. 

Fortune giveth the facilitie of m)' lives-condition some 
aide ; having placed it in such a time, wherein it is neither 
needfull nor combersome unto my people. It is a condition 
I would have accepted in all the seasons of my age : but 
in this occasion to trusse up bag and baggage, and take up 

232 Montaigne's Essayes 

my bed and walke : I am particularly pleased, that when I 
shall die, I shall neither breede pleasure nor cause sorrow 
in them. Shee hath caused (which is the recompence of an 
artist) that such as by my death may pretend any materiall 
benefit, receive thereby elswhere, jointly a materiall losse 
and hinderance. Death lies sometimes heavie upon us, in 
that it is burthensome to others : and interesseth us with 
their interest, almost as much as with ours : and sometimes 
more ; yea altogether ! In this [conveniencie] of lodging 
that I seeke, I neither entermix pompe nor amplitude ; For 
I rather hate it. But a certaine simple and humble pro- 
prietie, which is commonly found in places where lesse Arte 
is and that nature honoureth with some grace peculiar unto 
her selfe. Non ampliter^ sed munditer convivium. Plus 
sails quara sumptus (Plautin.). Not a great^ but a neat 
feast. More conceit then cost. 

And then it is for those, who by their urgent affaires are 
compelled to travell in the midst of deepe Winter, and 
amongst the Grisons, to be surprized by such extreamities 
in their journies. But I, who for the most part never 
travell, but for pleasure, will neither bee so ill advised nor 
so simply guided. If the way be foule on my right hand, I 
take the left : If I find my selfe ill at ease or unfit to ride, I 
stay at home. Which doing, and observing this course, in 
very truth I see no place, and come no where, that is not as 
pleasant, as convenient, and as commodious as mine owne 
house. True it is, that I ever find superfluitie superfluous : 
and observe a kind of troublesomenesse in delicatenesse and 
plenty. Have I omitted or left any thing behind me that 
was worth the seeing? I returne backe ; It is ever my 
way, I am never out of it. I trace no certaine line, neither 
right nor crooked. Comming to any strange place, finde 
I not what was told mee? As it often fortuneth, that 
others judgements agree not with mine, and have most 
times found them false, I grieve not at my labour : I have 
learned that what was reported to bee there, is not. I have 
my bodies complexion as free, and my taste as common, as 
any man in the world. The diversity of fashions betweene 
one and other Nations, concerneth me nothing, but by the 
varieties-pleasure. Each custome hath his reason. Bee the 
trenchers or dishes of wood, of pewter or of earth : bee my 
meate boyled, rosted or baked ; butter or oyle, and that of 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 233 

Olives or of Wall-nuts : hot or colde ; I make no differ- 
ence; all is one to me : And as one, that is growing- old, I 
accuse the generous facultie; and had need that delicate- 
nesse and choise, should stay the indiscretion of my appe- 
tite, and sometime ease and solace my stomacke. When I 
have beene out of France, and that to do me curtesie, some 
have asked me. Whether I would be served after the 
French maner, I have jested at them, and have ever thrust- 
in amongst the thickest tables and fullest of strangers. I 
am ashamed to see our men besotted with this foolish 
humor, to fret and chafe, when they see any fashions con- 
trary to theirs. They thinke themselves out of their 
element, when they are out of their Village : Where ever 
they come they keepe their owne country fashions, and 
hate, yea and abhorre all strange manners : Meet they a 
countriman of theirs in Hungary, they feast that good 
fortune: And what doe they? Marry close and joyne 
together, to blame, to condemne and to scorne so many 
barbarous fashions as they see. And why not Barbarous, 
since not French? Nay happily they are the better sort of 
men, that have noted and so much exclaimed against them. 
Most take going out but for comming home. They travell 
close and covered, with a silent and incommunicable wit, 
defending themselves from the contagion of some un- 
knowne ayre. What I speake of such, puts mee in minde 
in the like matter, of that I have heretofore perceived in 
some of [our] young Courtiers. They onely converse with 
men of their coate ; and with disdaine or pitty looke upon 
us, as if we were men of another world. Take away their 
new fangled, mysterious and affected courtly complements, 
and they are out of their byase. As farre to seeke and short 
of us, as we of them. That saying is true ; That An honest 
man is a man compounded. Cleane contrary, I travell 
fully glutted with our fashions : Not to seeke Gaskoines in 
Sicilie ; I have left over many at home. I rather seeke for 
Grsecians and Persians : Those I accost, Them I consider, 
and with such I endevour to be acquainted : to that I 
prepare and therein I employ my selfe. And which is more, 
me seemeth, I have not met with many maners, that are 
not worth ours. Indeed I have not wandred farre, scarsly 
have I lost the sight of our Chimnies. Moreover, most of 
the casuall companies you meete withall by the way, 

234 Montaigne's Essayes 

>t I 

have more incommodity than pleasure : a matter I doe not 
greatly take hold of, and lesse now that age doth particu- 
larize and in some sort sequester me from common formes. 
,You suffer for other, or others endure for you. The one 
inconvenience is yrkesome, the other troublesome : but yet 
the last is (in my conceipt) more rude. It is a rare chaunce, 
and seld-seene fortune, but of exceeding solace and in- 
estimable worth, to have an honest man, of singidar experi- 
ence, of a sound judgement, of a resolute understanding 
and constant resolution, and of manners conformable to 
yours, to accompany or follow you with a good will. I have 
found great want of such a one in all my voyages. Which 
company a man must seeke with discretion and with great 
heed obtaine, before he wander from home. "With me no 
pleasure is fully delightsome without communication ; and 
no delight absolute, except imparted. I doe not so much as 
apprehend one rare conceipt, or conceive one excellent 
good thought in my minde, but me thinks I am much 
grieved and grievously perplexed, to have produced the 
same alone, and that I have no sympathizing companion 
to impart it unto. Si cum, hac exceptione detur sapientia, ut 
illam inclusatn teneam, nee enunciem, rejiciam. If wis- 
dome should be offered with this exception^ that I should 
keepe it concealed, and not utter it, I would refuse it. The 
other strain 'd it one note higher. Si contigerit ea vita sapi- 
enti, ut omnium rerum affiuentibus copiis, quamvis omnia, 
qucB cognitione digna sunt, summo otio secum ipse con- 
sideret et contempletur ^ tamen si solitudo tanta sit, ut 
hominem videre non possit, excedat e vita (Cic. Offic. ii.). 
If a wiseman might lead such a life, as in abundance of all 
things hee may in full quiet contemplate and consider all 
things worthy of knowledge, yet if he must be so solitary 
as he may see no man, he should rather leave such a life. 
Architas his opinion is sutable to mine, which was, that it 
would be a thing unpleasing to the very heavens, and dis- 
tastefull to man, to survay and walke within those Immense 
and divine and coelestiall bodies, without the assistance of 
a friend or companion : Yet is it better to be alone, than in 
tedious and foolish company. Aristippus loved to live as 
an alien or stranger every where : 

Me si fata meis paterentur ducere vitam 
Auspiciis, — ViRG. /En. iv. 339. 


The Third Booke Chap. IX 235 

If fates would me permit 
To live as I thinke fit, 

I should chuse to weare out my life with my bum in the 
saddle, ever riding. 

— viscre gestiens, 
Qua parte debacchentttr ignes. 
Qua nebulcB piuviique rores. 

HoR. Car. iii. Od. iii. 54. 
Delighting much to goe and see 
Where firy heats rage furiously, 
Where clouds and rainy dews most be. 

Have you not more easie pastimes? What is it you 
want? Is not your house well seated, and in a good and 
wholesome ayre? Sufficiently furnished, and more then 
sufficiently capable? His Royall Majesty hath in great 
state beene in the same, and more then once taken his 
repast there. Doth not your family in rule and govern- 
ment leave many more inferior to hir, than above hir 
eminency? Is there any locall thought or care, that as 
extrordinary doth ulcerate, or as indigestible doth molest 

QucB te nunc coquat et vexet sub pectore fixa. 

Enni, Cic. Senect. p. 

Which now boyles in thy brest, 

And let's thee take no rest. 

Where doe you imagine you may bee without empeach- 
ment or disturbance? Nunquam simpliciter fortuna in- 
dulget. Fortune never favours fully without exception. You 
see then, there is none but you that trouble and busie your 
selfe : and every where you shall follow your self, and in all 
places you shall complaine. For, Here below there is no 
satisfaction or content^ except for hrutall or divine mindes. 
He who in so just an occasion hath no content, where doth 
he imagine to finde it? Unto how many thousands of men, 
doth such a condition as yours, bound and stay the limits of 
their wishes? Reforme hut your selfe; hy that you may 
doe all: Whereas towards fortune you have no right or 
interest, but patience. Nulla placida quies est^ nisi qicani 
ratio composuit (Sen. Ep. Ivi. m.). There ts no pleasing 
setled resty but such as reason hath made up. I see the 
reason of this advertisem.ent, yea I perceive it wel. But 
one should sooner have done and more pertinently, in one 


236 Montaigne's Essayes 

bare word to say unto me : Be wise. This resolution is 
beyond wisedome. It is hir Worke and hir production. So 
doth the Physition, that is ever crying to a languishing, 
heart-broken sicke-man, that he be merry and pull up a 
good heart; he should lesse foolishly perswade him if he 
did but bid him, To he healthy: as for me, I am but a man 
of the common stamp. It is a certaine, sound and of easie 
understanding precept : Be content with your owne ; that is 
to say, with, reason : the execution wherof notwithstand- 
ing is no more in the wiser sort than in my self : It is a 
popular word, but it hath a terrible far-reaching extention. 
What comprehends it not? All things fall within the com- 
passe of discretion and modification. Wei I wot, that being 
taken according to the bare letter, the pleasure of travell 
brings a testimony of unquietnesse and irresolution. Which 
to say truth, are our mistrisse and predominant qualities. 
Yea, I confesse it : I see nothing, bee it but a dreame or by 
wishing, whereon I may take hold. Onely varietie and the 
possession of diversitie doth satisfie me : if at least any 
thing satisfie mee. In travell this doth nourish mee, that 
without interest I may stay my selfe ; and that I have 
meanes commodiously to divert my selfe from it. I love 
a private life, because it is by mine owne choice, that I 
love it, not by a diffidence or disagreeing from a pubHke 
life ; which peradventure Is as much according to my com- 
plexion, I thereby serve my Prince more joyfully and genu- 
inely, because it is by the free election of my judgement 
and by my reason, without any particular obligation. And 
that I am not cast or forced thereunto, because I am unfit 
to be received of any other, or am not beloved : so of the 
rest. I hate those morsels that necessitie doth carve mee. 
Every commoditie, of which alone I were to depend, should 
ever hold me by the throat : 

Alter retnus aquas, alter mihi radat arenas. 

Propert. Hi. El. ii. 23. 
Let me cut waters with one oare, 
With th' other shave the sandie shoare : 

One string alone can never sufficiently hold me. You 
will say, there is vanitie in this ammusement. But where 
not? And these goodly precepts are vanitie, and Meere 
vanitie is all worldly wisedome. Dominus novit cogita- 
tio7res sapientum, quoniam vance sunt (Psal. xciii. 11). The 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 237 

Lord knowes the thoughts of the wise, that they are vaine. 
Such exquisite subtilities, are onely fit for sermons. They 
are discourses, that will send us into the other World on 
horsebacke. Life is a materiall and corporall motion, an 
action imperfect and disordered by its owne essence : I 
employ or apply my selfe to serve it according to it selfe. 

Quisque suos patitnur manes. 

ViRG. /En. vi. 743. 
All of us for our merit, 
Have some attending spirit. 

Sic est faciendum, ut contra naturam universam nihil 
contendamus, ea tamen conservata, propriam sequamur 
(Cic. Offic. i.). We must so worke, as we endevour nothing 
against nature in generally yet so observe it, as we follow 
our ozvne in speciall. To what purpose are these heaven- 
looking- and nice points of Philosophic, on which no humane 
being can establish and ground it selfe? And to what end 
serve these rules, that exceed our use and excell our 
strength? I often see, that there are certaine Ideaes or 
formes of life proposed unto us, which neither the proposer 
nor the Auditors have any hope at all to follow ; and which 
is worse, no desire to attaine. Of the same paper, whereon 
a Judge writ hut even now the condemnation against an 
adulterer , hee will teare a scantlin, thereon to write some 
love-lines to his fellow-judges wife. The same woman from 
whom you came lately, and with whom you have committed 
that unlawfull-pleasing sporty will soone after even in your 
presence, raile and scold more bitterly against the same 
fault in her neighbour, than ever Portia or Lucrece could. 
And some condemne men to die for crimes, that themselves 
esteeme no faults. I have in my youth seen a notable man 
with one hand to present the people most excellent and 
well-written verses, both for invention and extreme licenti- 
ousnesse ; and with the other hand, at the same instant, the 
most sharpe-railing reformation, according to Divinitie, 
that happily the World hath scene these many-many yeeres. 
Thus goes the world, and so goe men. We let the lawes 
and precepts follow their way, but wee keepe another 
course : Not onely by disorder of manners, but often by 
opinion and contrary judgement. Heare but a discourse of 
Philosophy read; the invention, the eloquence and the perti- 
,nencie, doth presently tickle your spirit and moove you. 

238 Montaigne's Essayes 

There is nothing- tickleth or pricketh your conscience : it is 
not to her that men speake. Is it not true? Ariston said, 
that Neither Bath nor Lecture are of any worthy except the 
one wash cleane, and the other cleanse al filth away. One 
may busie himselfe about the barke, when once the pith is 
gotten out : As when we have drunke off the Wine, we con- 
sider the graving and workmanship of the cuppe. In all 
the parts of ancient Philosophic, this one thing may be 
noted, that one same worke-man publisheth some rules of 
temperance, and there-withall some compositions of love 
and licentiousnesse. And Xenophon in Cliniaes bosome, 
writ against the Aristippian vertue. It is not a miraculous 
conversion, that so doth wave and hull them to and fro. 
But it is, that Solon doth sometimes represent himselfe in 
his owne colours, and sometimes in forme of a Lawgiver : 
now he speaketh for the multitude, and now for himselfe. 
And takes the free and naturall rules to himselfe ; warrant- 
ing himselfe with a constant and perfect soundnesse. 

Curentur duhii medicis niajoribus cpgri. 

fnVRK "^nt viii loji 

JUVEN. Sat. 

Let patients in great doubt, 
Seeke great Physitians out. 

Antisthenes alloweth a wise man to love and doe what 
he list, without respect of lawes, especially in things he 
deemeth needfull and fit : Forasmuch as he hath a better 
understanding than they, and more knowledge of vertue. 
His Disciple Diogenes said ; To perturbations we should 
oppose, reason, to fortune, confidence: and to lawes, 
nature: To dainty and tender stomachs, constrained and 
artificiall ordinances. Good stomackes are simply served 
with the prescriptions of their naturall appetite. So do our 
Phisitions, who whilst they tie their patients to a strik't 
diet of a panada or a sirope, feed themselves upon a 
melone, dainty fruits, much good meat, and drinke all : 
maner of good Wine. I wot not what Bookes are, nor 
what they meane by wisedome and philosophy (quoth the ' 
Curtizan Lais) but sure I am, those kinds of people knocke 
as often at my gates, as any other men. Because our , 
licenciousnesse transports us commonly beyond what is i 
lawfull and allowed, our lives-precepts and lawes have j 
often been wrested or restrained beyond universall reason, j 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 239 

lji|v. Nemo satis credit tantum delinquere, quantum. 

Wf Permittas. — Juven. Sat. xiv. 233. 

m No man thinkes it enough so farre t 'offend 

H As you give lawfull leave (and there to end) 

It were to be wished, there were a greater proportion 
betweene commandement and obedience : And unjust 
seemeth that ayme or goale whereto one cannot possibly 
attaine. No man is so exquisitely honest or upright in 
livingy but brings all his actions and thoughts within com- 
passe and danger of the lawes, and that ten times in his life 
might not lawfully be hanged. Yea happily such a man, as 
it were pitty and dangerously-hurtfull to loose, and most 
unjust to punish him. 

— Olle quid ad te, 
De cute quid facial ille vel ilia sua? 

Mart. vii. Epig. ix. i. 

Foole, what hast thou to doe, what he or she 
With their owne skinnes or themselves doing bee? 

And some might never offend the lawes, that notwith- 
standing should not deserve the commendations of vertu- 
ous men : and whom philosophy might meritoriously and 
justly cause to be whipped. So troubled, dimme-sighted 
and partiall is this relation. Wee are farre enough from 
being honest according to God: For, wee cannot be such 
according to our selves. Humane wisedome could never 
reach the duties, or attaine the devoir es it had prescribed 
unto it selfe. And had it at any time attained them, then 
would it doubtlesse prescribe some others beyond them, to 
which it might ever aspire and pretend. So great an enemy 
is our condition unto consistence. Man doth necessarily 
ordaine unto himselfe to bee in fault. Hee is not very 
crafty, to measure his duty by the reason of another being, 
than his owne. To whom prescribes he that, which hee 
expects no man will performe? Is he unjust in not dooing 
that, which he cannot possibly atchieve? The lawes which 
condemne us, not to be able ; condemne us for that we can- 
not performe. If the worst happen, this deformed libertie, 
for one to present himselfe in two places, and the actions 
after one fashion, the discourses after an other ; is lawfull in 
them, which report things : But it cannot be in them, that 
acknowledge themselves as I doe. I must walke with my 
penne, as I goe with my feete. The common high way 

240 Montaigne's Essayes 

must have conference with other wayes. Catoes vertue was 
vigorous, beyond the reason of the age he lived in : and for 
a man that entermedled with governing other men, desti- 
nated for the common service; it might be said to have 
beene a justice, if not unjust, at least vaine and out of 
season. Mine owne manners, which scarse disagree one 
inch from those now currant, make me notwithstanding in 
some sort, strange, uncouth and unsociable to my age. I 
wot not, whether it be without reason, I am so distasted 
and out of liking with the world, wherein I live and 
frequent : but well I know, I should have small reason to 
complaine, the world were distasted and out of liking with 
me, since I am so with it. The vertue assigned to the 
vv^orlds affaires, it is a vertue with sundry byases, turnings, 
bendings and elbowes, to apply and joyne it selfe to 
humane imbecilitie : mixed and artificiall : neither right, 
pure or constant, nor meerely innocent. Our Annales even 
to this day, blame some one of our Kings, to have over- 
simply suffered himself to be led or misled by the consci- 
entious perswasions of his Confessor. Matters of state 
have more bold precepts. 

— exeat aula, 
Qui vult esse plus. — Lucan. Bell. Civ. i. 493. 
He that will godly bee, 
From Court let him be free. 

I have heretofore assayed to employ my opinions and 
rules of life, as new, as rude, as impolished or as unpol- 
luted, as they were naturally borne with me, or as I have 
attained them by my institution ; and wherewith, if not 
so commodiously, at least safely in particular, I serve mine 
owne turne, unto the service of publike affaires and benefit 
of my Common-wealth. A scholasticall and novice vertue 
but I have found them very unapt and dangerous for that 
purpose. He that goeth in a presse or throng of people, 
must sometimes step aside, hold in his elbowes, crosse the 
way, advance himselfe, start backe, and forsake the right 
way, according as it falls out : Live he not so much as 
he would himselfe, but as others will, not according to that 
he proposeth to himselfe, but to that which is proposed 
to him : according to times, to men and to affaires, and 
as the skilfull Mariner, saile with the winde. Plato saith, 
that who escapes untainted and cleane-handed from the\ 


The Third Booke Chap. IX 241 

managing of the world; escapeth by some wonder. He 
sayes also, that when he instituteth his Philosopher as 
chiefe over a Common-wealth, he meanes not a corrupted 
or law broken commonwealth, as that of Athens ; and much 
lesse, as ours, with which wisedome herselfe would be 
broug-ht to a nonplus or put to her shifts. And a good 
hearb, transplanted into a soile very diverse from her 
nature, doth much sooner conforme it selfe to the soile, 
then it reformeth the same to it selfe. I feelingly perceive 
that if I were wholly to enure my selfe to such occupa- 
tions, I should require much change and great repairing. 
Which could I effect in me (and why not with time and 
diligence ?) I would not. Of that little which in this voca- 
tion I have made triall of, I have much distasted my selfe : 
I sometimes finde certaine temptations arise in my minde, 
towards ambition ; but I start aside, bandie and opinion- 
ate my selfe to the contrarie : 

At tu CattiUe obstinatus ohdura. 

Catul. Lyr. Epig. viii. 19. 
Be thou at any rate, 
Obdurate, obstinate. 

I am not greatly called, and I invite my selfe as little unto 
it. Libertie and idlenesse, my chiefe qualities, are quali- 
ties diameterly contrarie to that mysterie. We know not 
how to distinguish mens faculties. They have certaine 
divisions and limits uneasie and over nice to be chosen. 
To conclude hy the sufficiency of a private life, any suffi- 
ciency for puhlike use, it is ill concluded : Some one directs 
himselfe well, that cannot so well direct others ; and com- 
poseth Essayes, that could not worke effects. Some man 
can dispose and order a siege, that could but ill commaund 
and marshall a battel : and discourseth well in private, 
that to a multitude or a Prince would make but a bad 
Oration. Yea peradventure, tis rather a testimony to him 
that can doe one, that he cannot doe the other, but other- 
wise. I finde that high spirits are not much lesse apt for 
base things, then base spirits are for high matters. Could 
it be imagined, that Socrates would have given the Athen- 
ians cause to laugh at his own charges, because he could 
never justly compt the suffrages of his tribe, and make 
report thereof unto the counsell? Truely the reverence I 
beare, and respect I owe unto that mans perfections, 

242 Montaigne's Essayes 

deserveth that his fortune bring to the excuse of my prin- 
cipal imperfections, one so notable example. Our suffi- 
ciencie is retailed into small parcells. Mine hath no 
latitude, and is in number very miserable. Saturninus 
answered those, who had conferred all authority upon him, 
saying, Oh you my fellow-sotildierSy you have lost a good 
Captaine, by creating him a had GencraU of an Annie. 
Who in time of infection vanteth himselfe, for the worlds- 
service, to employ a genuine or sincere vertue, either 
knowes it not, (opinions being corrupted with maners ; in 
good sooth, heare but them paint it forth, marke how most 
of them magnifie themselves for their demeanours, and 
how they forme their rules : in Hew of pourtraying vertue, 
they onely set forth meere injustice and vice, and thus false 
and adulterate they present the same to the institution 
of Princes) or if he know it, he wrongfully boasteth him- 
selfe ; and whatever he saith, he doth many things where- 
of his owne conscience accuseth him. I should easily 
believe Seneca^ of the experience he made of it in such an 
occasion, upon condition he would freely speake his minde 
of it unto me. The honour ablest badge of goodnesse in 
such a necessitie, is [ingenuously] for a man to acknoiv- 
ledge both his owne and others faults; to stay and with 
his might, hinder the inclination towards emll: and avie to 
follow this course, to hope and wish better. In these dis- 
membrings or havocks of France, and divisions whereinto 
we are miserably falne, I perceive every man travell and 
busie himselfe to defend his owne cause, and the better 
sort with much dissembling and falsehood. Hee that 
should plainely and roundly write of it, should write rashly 
and viciously. Take the best and justest part, what is it 
else but the member of erased, worme-eaten and corrupted 
body? But of such a body the member least sicke, is 
called sound : and good reason why, because our qualities 
have no title but in comparison. Civill innocency is 
measured according to places and seasons. I would be 
glad to see such a commendation of Agesilaus in Xeno- 
phon, who being entreated of a neighbour Prince, with 
whom he had sometimes made warr, to suffer him to passe i 
through his countrie, was therewith well pleased ; grant- 1 
ing him free passage through Peloponnese, and having j 
him at his mercy, did not only not emprison nor empoison i 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 243 

him, but according to the tenour of his promise, without 
shew, or offence, or unkindenesse, entertained him with all 
courtesie and humanitie. To such humours, it were a 
matter of no moment : At other times and elsewhere, the 
libertie and magnanimitie of such an action shall be highly- 
esteemed. Our gullish Gaberdines would have mockt at 
it. So little affinity is there betweene the Spartan and 
the French innocencie. We have notwithstanding some 
honest men amongst us ; but it is after our fashion. He 
whose manners are in regularity established above the age 
he liveth in ; let him either wrest or muffle his rules : or 
(which I would rather perswade him) let him withdraw 
himselfe apart and not medle with us. What shall he 
gaine thereby? 

Egregium sanctumque virum si cerno, hitnembri. 
Hoc monstrum puero, et miranti jam sub aratro 
Piscibus inventis et foetce comparo mulcB. 

JuvEN. Sat. xiii. 64. 

See I a man of holinesse and vertues rare, 
To births bimembred, under wonderfull Plow share ; 
Fish found, or moiles with fole, this monster I compare. 

One may bewaile the better times, but not avoide the 
present: one may desire other magistrates but notwith- 
standing he must obey those he hath : And happily it is 
more commendable to obey the wicked than the good. So 
long as the image of the received, allowed and ancient 
lawes of this Monarchic shall be extant and shine in any 
corner thereof; there will I be; there will I abide. And if 
by any disaster they shall chaunce to have contradiction 
or empeachment amongst themselves, and produce two 
factions, of doubtfull or hard choise : my election shall 
be to avoide. And if I can escape this storme. In the 
meane while, either nature or the hazard of warre, shall 
lend me that helping hand. I should freely have declared 
my selfe betweene Ccesar and Pompey. But betweene 
those three theeves which came after, where either one 
must have hid himselfe, or followed the winde : which I 
deeme lawfull, when reason swayeth no longer. 
Quod diversus abis? — Virg. J£n. v. i66. 

Whether have you recourse, 
So farre out of your course? 

This mingle-mangle is somewhat beside my text. I 

244 Montaigne's Essayes 

stragle out of the path ; yet it is rather by licence, then by 
unadvisednesse : my fantasies follow one another : but 
sometimes a farre off, and looke one at another; but with 
an oblique looke. I have heretofore cast mine eyes upon 
some of Platoes Dialogues : [bemotled] with a fantasticall 
variety : the first part treateth of love, all the latter of 
Rhetorick. They feare not those variances : and have ai 
wonderfull grace in suffering themselves to bee transported: 
by the wind ; or to seeme so. The titles of my chapters, 
embrace not allwayes the matter : they often but glance 
at it by some marke : as these others, Andria, Eunuchus : 
or these, Sylla, Cicero ^ Torquatus, I love a Poeticall kinde 
of march, by friskes, skips, and jumps. It is an arte (saith 
Plato) light, nimble, fleeting and light braind. There are 
some treatises in Plutarke^ where he forgets his theame, 
where the drift of his argument is not found but by in- 
cidencie and chaunce, ail stuffed with ,strange matter. 
Marke but the vagaries in his Daemon of Socrates. Oh 
God ! what grace hath the variation, and what beautie 
these startings and nimble escapes ; and then most, when 
they seeme to employ carelesnesse and casualtie : It is the 
unheedie and negligent reader that loseth my subject, and 
not my [selfe]. Some word or other shall ever be found 
in a corner that hath relation to it, though closely couched. 
I ajn indiscreetly and tumultuously at a fault ; my stile 
and wit are still gadding alike. A little folly is tolerable 
in him that will not be more sottish ; say our masters 
precepts, and more their examples. A thousand Poets 
labour and languish after the prose-manner, but the best 
antient prose, which I indifferently scatter here and there 
for verse, shineth every where, with a poetticall vigour 
and boldnesse, and representeth some aire or touch of it's 
fury : Verily she ought to have the maistry and prehemin- 
ence given her in matters of speech. A Poet (saith Plato) 
seated on the Muses footestoole, doth in a furie powre 
out whatsoever commeth in his mouth, as the pipe or 
cocke of a fountaine, without considering or ruminating 
the same : and many things escape him, diverse in colour, 
contrary in substance, and broken in course. Antient 
Divinitie is altogether Poesie (say the learned) and the 
first Philosophie. It is the original language of the Gods. 
I understand that the matter distinguisheth it selfe. It 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 245 

sufficiently declareth where it chang-eth, where it con- 
cludeth, where it beginneth, and where it rejoyneth ; with- 
out enterlacing's of words, joyningf lig;aments and binding" 
seames wrested-in for the service of weake and unatten- 
tive eares : and without glossing" or expounding' my selfe. 
What is he, that would not rather not be read at all, then 
read in drowsie and cursorie manner : Nihil est tarn utiles 
quod in transitu prosit. There is nothing so profitable y 
that being lightly past over, will doe good. If to take 
bookes in hand were to learne them : and if to see were 
to view them ; and if to runne them over were to seize upon 
them, I should be to blame, to make my self altogether so 
ignorant as I say. Since I cannot stay the readers atten- 
tion by the weight : Manco male, if I happen to stay him 
by my intricate confusion : yea but he will afterward 
repent, that ever he ammused himselfe about it. You say 
true, but hee shall have ammused himselfe upon it. And 
there be humors, to whom understanding- causeth disdaine, 
who because they shall not know what I meane will 
esteeme mee the better, and will conclude the mystery and 
depth of my sense by the obscuritie : Which, to speake in 
good earnest, I hate as death, and would shunne it, if I 
could avoid my selfe. Aristotle vaunteth in some place 
to affect the same. A vicious affectation. Forsomuch as 
the often breaking* of my chapters, I so much used in 
the beginning of my booke, seemed to interrupt attention 
before it be conceived : Disdaining for so little a while to 
collect and there seat it selfe : I have betaken my selfe to 
frame them longer ; as requiring proposition and assigned 
leasure. In such an occupation he to whom you will not 
grant one houre, you will allow him nothing. And you 
doe nought for him, for whom you doe, but in doing some 
other thing. Sithence peradventure I am particularly tied 
and precisely vowed, to speake by halves, to speake con- 
fusedly, to speake discrepantly. I therefore hate this 
trouble-feast reason : And these extravigant projects, 
which so much molest mans life, and these so subtle 
opinions, if they have any truth; I deeme it over-deare, 
and find it too incommodious. On the other side, I labour 
to set forth vanitie and make sottishnesse to prevaile if it 
bring me any pleasure. And without so nicely controlling" 
them, I follow mine owne naturall inclinations. I have 

246 Montaigne's Essayes 

elsewhere scene some houses ruined, statues overthrownc, 
both of heaven and of earth : But men be alwaies one. All 
that is true : and yet I can not so often survay the vast 
toombe of that Citie so great, so populous and so puis- 
sant, but I as often admire and reverence the same. The 
care and remembrance of evills is recommended unto us. . 
Now have I from my infancie beene bred and brought! 
up with these : I have had knowledge of the affaires of 1 
Rome, long time before I had notice of those of my house. 
I knew the Capitoll, and its platforme, before I knew, 
Louvre, the pallace of our Kings in Paris; and the Riven 
Tiber, before Seyne. I have more remembred and thought 
upon the fortunes and conditions of Lucullus, Metellus and 
Scipio, then of any of our country-men. They are de- 
ceased, and so is my father, as fully as they : and is as 
distant from me and life in eighteene yeeres as they were 
in sixteene hundred : Whose memorie, amitie, and societie, 
I, notwithstanding omit not to continue, to embrace and 
converse withall : with a perfect and most lively union. 
Yea of mine owne inclination, I am more officious toward 
the deceased. They can no longer helpe themselves ; but 
(as me seemeth) they require so much the more my ayde : 
There is Gratitude, and there appeareth she in her perfect 
lustre. A benefit is lesse richly assigned, where retro- 
gradation and reflexion is. Arcesilaus going to visit 
Ctesibius that was sicke, and finding him in very poore 
plight, faire and softly thrust some money under his 
boulster, which he gave him : And concealing it from him, 
left and gave him also a quittance for ever being behold- 
ing to him. Such as have at any time deserved friendship! 
or love or thanks at my hands, never lost in the same, 
by being no longer with me. I have better paid and more 
carefully rewarded them, being absent and when they 
least thought of it. I speake more kindely and affection- 
ately of my friends, when there is least meanes, that ever 
it shall come to their eares. I have heretofore undergone; 
a hundred quarrels for the defence of Pompey and Brutus 
his cause. This acquaintance continueth to this day be- 
tweene us. Even of present things, wee have no other 
holde, but by our fantazie. Perceiving my selfe unfit and: 
unprofitable for this age, I cast my selfe to that other ; And 
am so besotted with it that the state of the said ancient, 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 247 

free, just and florishing- Rome, (for I neither love the 
birth nor like the old age of the same) doth interest, con- 
cerne and passionate me. And therefore can I not so often 
looke into the situation of their streets and houses, and 
those wondrous-strange mines, that may be said to reach 
down to the Antipodes, but so often must I ammuse my 
selfe on them. Is it nature or by the error of fantasie, 
that the seeing of places, wee know to have beene fre- 
quented or inhabited by men, whose memory is esteemed 
or mentioned in stories, doth in some sort move and stirre 
us up as much or more, than the hearing of their noble 
deeds, or reading of their compositions? Tatita vis ad- 
monitionis inest in locis : Et id quidem in hac urhe infini- 
tum; quacunque enim ingredimur, in aliquam historiam 
vestigium poni^nus (Cic. s. De Fin.). So great a power 
of admonition is in the very place. And that in this City 
is most infinite, for which way soever we walke, we set 
our foote upon some History. I am much delighted with 
the consideration of their countenance, port and abilli- 
ments. I ruminate those glorious names betweene my 
teeth, and make mine eares to ring with the sound of 
them. Ego illos veneror, et tantis noniinibus semper 
assurgo. I do reverence them, and at their names I do 
rise and make curtesie : Of things but in some sort great, 
strange and admirable, I admire their common parts. I 
could wish to see them walke and suppe together, and 
heare their discourses. It were Ingratitude to despise, 
and impietie to neglect the reliques or images of so many 
excellent, honest good men, and therewithal! so valiant, 
which I have scene live and die : And who by their 
examples, had we the wit or grace to follow them, affoord 
us so many notable instructions. And Rome as it stands 
now, deserveth to be loved : Confederated so long since, 
and sharing titles with our Crowne of France : Being the 
only common and universal! Citie : The Soveraigne Magis- 
trate therein commanding, is likewise knowne abroad in 
divers other places. It is the chiefe Metropolitan Citie of 
all Christian nations : Both French and Spaniards and all 
men else are there at home. To be a Prince of that state, 
a man needs but be of Christendome, where ever it be 
seated. There's no place here on earth, that the Heavens 
have embraced with such influence of favors and grace. 

248 Montaigne's Essayes 

and with such constancie : Even her ruine is glorious with 
renowne, and swolne with glorie. 

Laudandis preciosior minis. 

Ev'n made more honourable : 
By ruines memorable. 

Low-levelled as she lieth, and even in the tombe of hir 
glory, she yet reserveth the lively image and regardfull 
markes of Empire. Ut palam sit uno in loco gaudentis 
opus esse naturcB. So as it is cleare, in one place is set- 
forth the worke of nature in her jollity. Some one would 
blame himself e, yea and mutinie, to feele himself e tickled 
with so vaine a pleasure. Our humors are not over-vaine, 
that be pleasant. Whatsoever they be, that constantly 
content a man capable of common understanding, I could 
not finde in my heart to moane or pitty him. I am much 
beholding to fortune, inasmuch as untill this day, she hath 
committed nothing outragiously against me, or imposed 
any thing upon me, that is beyond my strength, or that 
I could not well beare. It is not haply her custome, to 
suffer such as are not importunate or over busie with hir, 
to live in peace. 

Oiianto quisque sihi plura uegaverit, 

A Diis phira feret, nil cupicntiurv, 

Niidus castra pcto, niulta petciitibta:, 

Destint multa.—HoR. Car. iii. Od. xvl. 21, 42. 

The more that men shall to themselves dcnie, 
The more the gods will give them : threed-bare I 
Follow the campe of them that nought desire, 
They still want much, that still doe much require. 

If she continue so, I shall depart very well content and 

— niliil supra, 
Decs laccsso. — Ibid. Car. ii. Od. xviii. 11. 

More than will serve, to have 
Of Gods I doe not crave. 

But beware the shocke : Thousands miscary in the 
haven, and are cast away being neerest home. I am easil}* 
comforted with what shall happen here when I am gone. 
Things present trouble me sufficiently, and set me thorowl} ^ 
a worke. 

FortuncB ccetera mando. — Ovid. Metam. ii. 140. 

The rest I doe commit 

To Fortune (as is fit). 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 249 

Besides, I am not tied with that strong bond, which 
some say, bindes men to future times, by the children bear- 
ing their names, and succeeding them in honors : And 
being so much to be desired, it may be I shall wish for 
them so much the lesse. I am by my selfe but overmuch 
tied unto the world, and fasthed unto life : I am pleased 
to be in Fortunes hold by the circumstances properly neces- 
sary to my state, without enlarging her jurisdiction upon 
ime by other wayes : And I never thought, that to be with- 
out children, were a defect, able to make mans life lesse, 
compleat and lesse contented. A barren state or sterill 
[vacation, have also their peculiar commodities. Children 
\are in the number of things^ that need not greatly bee 
desired; especially in these corrupted daies, wherein it 
[would be so hard a matter to make them good. Bona jam 
nee nasci licet ita corrupta sunt semina. We cannot now 
\have good things so much as grow, the seeds are so cor- 
rupt. Yet have they just cause to moane them, that hav- 
ing once gotten, lose them untimely. He who left me my 
house in charge, considering my humor, which was to 
stay at home so little, fore-saw I should be the overthrow 
of it. He was deceived : I am now as I came unto it, it 
not somewhat better. And that, without any Office or 
Churchliving ; which are no small helps. As for other 
matters, if Fortune have offred me no violent or extra- 
ordinary offence, so hath she not shewed me any great 
favour or extraordinary grace. Whatsoever I have be- 
longing to it, that may properly be termed her gifts, was 
there before I came unto it; yea and a hundred yeeres 
before. I particularly enjoy no essentiall good, or pos- 
sesse no solid benefit, that I owe unto her liberalitie ; 
Indeed she hath bestowed some wind-pufft favours upon 
me, which may rather be termed titular and honourable in 
shew, then in substance, or materiall ; And which, in good 
truth, she hath not granted, but offered me, God he 
knowes, to me, who am altogether materiall; not satisfied 
but with realitie, which must also, be massie and sub- 
stantial! : And who, if I durst confesse it, would not thinke 
avarice much lesse excusable then ambition : nor griefe 
lesse evitable, then shame : nor health lesse desirable, then 
learning : or riches, lesse to be wished, then nobilitie. 
Amongst her vaine favours, I have none doth so much 
III 442 I 

250 Montaigne's Essayes 


please my fond selfe-pleasing- conceit, as an authentlcke 
Bull, charter or patent of denizonship or borg-eouship of 
RomBy which at my last being- there, was granted me by 
the whole Senate of that Citie : garish and trimly adorned 
with goodly Seales, and written in faire golden letters; 
bestowed upon me with all gracious and free liberaHtie. 
And forsonuich as they are commonly conferred in divers 
stiles, more or lesse favourable : and that before I had ever 
scene any, I would have beene glad to have had but a 
paterne or formular of one, I will for the satisfaction of 
any, if he fortune to be possessed with such a curiositie 
as mine, here set down the true copy or transcript of it : 
and thus it is. 

Quod Horatius Maxinius, Martius Cecius, Alexander 
Mutus, almzE urbis conservatores de Illustrissimo 
viro Michaele Montano, Equite sancti Michaelis, et 
a Ciibiculo Regis Christianissimi, Romana civitate 
donandOy ad Senatum retulerunt, S.P.Q.R. de ea 
re ita fieri censiiit. 

Cum veteri more et instituto cupide illi semper studio- 
seque suscepti sinty qui virtute ac nobilitate prcEstantes, 
magno ReipubliccB nostrce usui atque ornamento fuissent, 
vel esse aliquando possent: Nos niajoruni nostrorum 
exemplo atque auctoritate permoti, preclarani hanc Con- 
suetudinem nobis imitandani ac servandani fore cense- 
nius. Quaniobrem ciim Illustrissimus Michael Montanus 
Eques sancti Michaelis, et a cubiculo Regis Christianis- 
simi ; Romani nominis studio sis simuSy et familice laude 
atque splendore et propriis virtutum meritis dignissimus 
sit, qui siimmo Senatus Populique Romani judicio ac studio 
in Romanam Civitatem adsciscatur, placere Senatui P.Q.R. 
Illustrissimum Michaelem Montanum rebus omnibus orna- 
tissimum, atque huic inclyto Populo charissimum, ipsum 
postcrosque, in Rom. civitatem adscribi, ornarique, omni- 
bus et premiis et honoribus , quibus illi fruuntur, qui Cives 
patritiique Romani nati aut jure Optimo facti sunt. In quo 
censere Senatum- P.Q.R. se non tarn illi Jus Civitatis lar- 
giri qudm debitum tribuere, neque magis beneficium dare 
quam. ab ipso accipere, qui hoc Civitatis munere accipiendo, 
singulari Civitatem, ipsam ornamento atque honore affece- 
rit. Quam quidem S.C. auctoritatem iidem Conservatores 

The Third Booke Chap. IX 251 

fyer Senatus P.O.R. scrihas in acta referri atque in Capi- 
'olii curia servari, privilegiumque hujusmodi fieri, solitoque 
irbis sigillo communin, curarunt. Anno ah urhe condito 
CXjCCCXXXL post Christum natum M.D. LxxxL III. 
Idiis Martii. 

Horatiiis Fuscus sacri S. P.O.R. scriha. 
Vincent. Martliolus sacri S.P.Q.R. scriha. 

At the motion of Horatius Maximus, Martius CeciuSy 
Alexander Mutus, who are Conservators of this beautifull 
Cittie concerning the endenizing- and making Cittizen of 
Rome the noble Gentleman Michael de Montaigne, Knight 
Df the Order of Saint Michaell, and one of the Chamber 
3f the most Christian King, the Senate and people of Rome 
thought good thereof thus to [enact]. Whereas by the 
antlent custome and good order, they have ever and with 
g-ood will been entertained, who excelling in vertue and 
lobilitie have been, or at any time might be of any great 
jse or ornament unto our common-weale : Wee, mooved 
Dy example and authorjtie of our Auncesters, decree, That 
this notable custome, by us should be ensued and observed. 
Wherefore, sithence the right Noble Michael de Mon- 
taigne, Knight of Saint Michaels Order, and one of the 
chamber of the most Christian King, both is most affec-" 
tionate unto the Roman name, and by the commendations 
and splendor of his pedegree, as also by the merits of his 
proper vertues, most worthe to be adopted and inserted into 
the Romane Cittie with a speciall judgement and good will 
of the Senate and people of Rome. It pleaseth the Senate 
and people of Rome that the right noble Michael de Mon- 
taigne, adorned in all complements, and well-beloved of 
this famous Communaltie, both himselfe and his succes- 
bours should be ascribed and enfranchized into this Romane 
Cittie, and be graced with al rewards and honours, which 
they enjoy, who either have been borne, or elected, either 
Citizen or Noble men of Rome. Wherein the Senate and 
people doe decree. That they doe not so much vouchsafe 
him the right of their Citie, as give him that is due unto 
him, nor doe they rather give him a benefite, then receive 
it of him, who by accepting this gift of the Cittie, doth 
countenance the Cittie with a singular ornament and 
honour. W^hich Act and authoritie of the Senates Decree : 

252 Montaigne's Essayes 

the said Conservators caused by the Clearks of the Senate 
and people to be registred and laid-up in the Capitoll Court, 
and this Priviledge to be made and signed with the Cities 
usLiall Scale. In the yeare since the building of the Citie 
CXoCCCXXXI. after the birth of Christ a thousand five 
hundred eighty and one : the Ides of March. 

Horatius Fuscus, and Vincent Martholus 

Clarks of the sacred Senate and people of Rome. 

Being neither Burgeois nor Denizon of any Citie, I am 
well pleased to bee so, of the noblest and greatest that ever 
was heretofore, or ever shall be hereafter. If others did 
so attentively consider and survay themselves as I doe, 
they shall as I doe, finde themselves full of inanitie, fond- 
nesse or vanity. I can not be rid of it, except I rid and 
quit my selfe. Wee are all possessed and overwhelmed 
therewith, as well one as the other. But such as have a 
feeling of it, have somewhat the better bargaine : And yet 
I am not sure of it. This common opinion and vulgar 
custome, to looke and marke elsewhere then on our selves, 
hath well provided for our affaires. It is an object full- 
fraught with discontent, wherein we see nothing but 
miserie and vanitie. To th' end we should not wholly be 
discomforted, Nature hath very fitly cast the action of our 
sight outward : Wee goe forward according to the streamej 
but to turne our course backe to our selves^ is a painefull 
motion: the sea likewise is troubled, raging and disquieted, 
when t'is turned and driven into it selfe. Observe (saith 
every one) the motions and bransles of the heavens : take 
a survay of all : the quarrell of this man, the pulse of that 
man, and anothers last testament : to conclude, behold and 
marke ever, high or low, right or oblique, before or behind 
you. It was a paradoxall commandement, which the God 
of Delphos laid heeretofore upon us ; saying : View your 
selves within; know your selves; and keepe you to your 
selves: Your minde and your will, which elsewhere is 
consumed, bring it unto it selfe againe : you scatter, you 
stragle, you stray, and you distract yourselves : call your 
selves home againe ; rowze and uphold your selves : you 
are betrayed, you are spoiled and dissipated; your selves 
are stolen and taken from your selves. Seest thou not 
how all this universe holdeth all his sights compelled in- 

The Third Booke Chap. X 253 

ward, and his eyes open to contemplate it selfe? Both 
inward and outward it is ever vanitie for thee ; but so much 
lesse vanitie, by how much lesse it is extended. Except 
thy selfe. Oh man, (said that God) every thing doth first 
seeke and study it selfe, and according- to it's neede hath 
limits to her travells, and bounds to her desires. There's 
not one so shallow, so empty, and so needy as thou art 
who embracest the whole world : Thou art the Scrutator 
withcut knowledg, the magistrate without jurisdiction : 
and when all is done, the vice of the play. 



In regard of the common sort of men, few things touch 
me, or (to speake properly) sway me : For it is reason they 
touch, so they possesse-us not. I have great neede, both 
by study and discourse, to encrease this priviledge of in- 
sensibilitie, which is naturally crept farre into me. I am 
not wedded unto many things, and by consequence, not 
passionate of them. I have my sight cleare, but tied to 
few objects : My senses delicate and gentle ; but my appre- 
hension and application hard and dull : I engage my selfe 
with difficulty. As much as I can, I employ my selfe 
wholly to my selfe. And in this very subject, I would will- 
ingly bridle and uphold my affection, lest it be too farre 
plunged therein ; Seeing it is a Subject I possesse at the 
mercy of others, and over which fortune hath more interest 
then my selfe. So as even in my health, which I so much 
esteeme, it were requisite not to desire, nor so carefully to 
seeke it, as thereby I might light upon intollerable diseases. 
We must moderate our selves, hetwixt the hate of paine, 
and the love of pleasure. Plato sets downe a meane course 
of life betweene both. But to affections that distract me 
from my selfe, and divert me elsewhere ; surely, to such I 
oppose my selfe with all my force. Mine opinion is, that 
one should lend himselfe to others, and not give himselfe 
but to himselfe. Were my wil easie to engage or apply 
it selfe, I could not continue : I am over tender both by 
nature and custome. 

254 Montaigne's Essayes 

Fugax reruni, securaque in otia natus. 

Ovid. Trist. iii. El. n. g. 

Avoiding active businesse, 
And borne to secure idlenesse. 

Contested and obstinate debates, which in the end woulc 
give mine adversarie advantage, the issue which woulc 
make my earnest pursuit ashamed, would perchance tor- 
ment mee cruelly. If I vexed as other men, my souk 
should never have strength to beare th' alaroms and emo- 
tions, that follow such as embrace much. She woulc 
presently be displaced by this intestine agitation. If a1 
any time I have beene urged to the managing of strange 
affaires, I have promised to undertake them with my hand, 
but not with my lungs and liver ; to charge, and not tc 
incorporate them into me, to have a care, but nothing a1 
all to be over passionate of them : I looke to them, but 1 
hatch them not. I worke enough to dispose and direct the 
domestical! troubles within mine owne entrailes and veines,! 
without harbouring, or importune my selfe with any for-i 
raine employments : And am sufficiently interessed with ni}- 
proper, naturall and essentiall affaires, without seeking 
others businesses. Such as know how much they owe tc 
themselves ; and how many offices of their owne they are 
bound to performe, shall finde that nature hath given them 
this commission fully ample and nothing idle. Thou liasi 
businesse enough within thy selfe, therefore stray not 
ah road: Men give themselves to hire. Their faculties are 
not their own, but theirs to whom they subject themselves ; 
their inmates, and not themselves, are within them. Thi^ 
common humour doth not please me. We should thriftil) 
husband our mindes liberty, and never engage it but upon 
just occasions, which if we judge impartially, are very few 
in number. Looke on such as suffer themselves to be 
transported and swayed, they doe it every where. In little 
as well as in great matters ; to that which concerneth, as 
easie as to that which toucheth them not. They thrusi 
themselves indifferently into all actions, and are withoul 
life, if without tumultuary agitation. In negotiis sunt, 
negotii causa. They are husie that they may not be idle, 
or else in action for actions sake. They seeke worke but 
to be working. It is not so much because they will goe,' 
as for that they cannot stand still. Much like to a rowl- 

P The Third Booke Chap. X 255 

Ing-stone, which never sta3'es untill it come to a lying- 
place. To some men, employment is a marke of suffi- 
ciencie and a badge of dignity. Their spirits seeke rest 
in action, as infants repose in the cradle. They may be 
said, to be as serviceable to their friends, as importunate 
to themselves. No man distributes his mony to others but 
every one his life and time. We are not so prodigal! of 
any thing, as of those whereof to be covetous would be 
both commendable and profitable for us. I follow a cleane 
contrary course, I am of another complexion : I stay at 
home and looke to my selfe. What I wish-for, I com- 
monly desire the same but mildely, and desire but little : 
so likewise I seldome employ and quietly embusie my selfe. 
What ever they intend and act, they do it with all their 
will and vehemency. There are so many dangerous steps, 
that for the more security, wee must som.ewhat slightly 
and superficially slide through the world, and not force it. 
Pleasure it selfe is painefuU in it's height. 

— incedis per igr^es, 
Subpositos cineri doloso. 

HoR, Car. ii. Od. i. 7. 

You passe through fire (though unafraid) 
Under deceitfull ashes laid. 

The towne counsell of Bourdeaux chose me Maior of 
their City, being farre from France, but further from any 
such thought. I excused my selfe and would have avoided 
it. Biit they told mee I was to blame ; the more, because 
the Kings commandement was also employed therein. It 
is a charge, should seeme so much the more goodly, be- 
cause it hath neither fee nor reward, other then the honour 
in the execution. It lasteth two yeares, but may continue 
longer by a second election, which seldome hapneth. To 
me it was, and never had been but twice before : Some 
yeares past the Lord of Lansac ; and lately to the Lord 
of Biron, Marshall of France. In whose place I succeeded ; 
and left mine to the Lord of Matigon, likewise Marshall of 
France. Glorious by so noble an assistance. 

Uterque bonus pads bellique minister. 

Both, both in peace and warre, 
Right serviceable are. 

Fortune would have a share in my promotion by this 

256 Montaigne's Essayes 

particular circumstance, which shee of her owne added 
thereunto ; not altogether vaine. For Alexander disdained 
the Corinthian Ambassadors, who offred him the freedome 
and Burgeoise of their Citie, but when they told him that 
Bacchus and Hercules were likewise in their registers, hee 
kindly thanked them and accepted their offer. At my first 
arrivall, I faithfully disciphered and conscientiously dis- 
plaied my selfe, such as I am indeede : without memorie, 
without diligence, without experience and without suf- 
ficiencie, so likewise without hatred, without ambition, 
covetousnesse and without violence: that so they might 
be duly instructed what service they might, or hope, or! 
except at my hands. And forsomuch as the knowledge' 
they had of my deceased father, and the honour they bare! 
unto his memory, had mooved them to chuse me to that| 
dignitie, I told them plainly, I should be verie sorie, thatj 
any [thing] should worke such an opinion in my will, as 
their affaires and Citie had done in my fathers, while he 
held the said government, whereunto they had called me. 
I remembred to have scene him, being an infant, and he 
an old man, his minde cruelly turmoiled with the publike 
toile, forgetting the sweet aire of his owne house, where- 
unto the weakenes of his age had long before tied him, 
neglecting the care of his health and family, in a maner 
despising his life, which as one engaged for them, he much 
endangered, riding long and painefull journies for them. 
Such a one was he : which humor proceeded from the 
bountie and goodnesse of his nature. Never was minde 
more charitable or more popular. This course, which I 
commend in others, I love not to follow : Neither am I 
without excuse. He had heard, that a man must forget 
himself e for his neighbour : that in respect of the generally 
the particular was not to be regarded. Most of the worlds- 
rules and precepts hold this traine, to drive us out of our 
selves into the wide world, to the use of publike society. 
They presumed to worke a goodly effect in distracting and 
withdrawing us from our selves : supposing wee were by a 
naturall instinct, too-too much tied unto it : and to this 
end have not spared to say any thing. For to the wise it is 
no novelty, to preach things as they serve, and not as they 
are. Truth hath her lets, discommodities and [incompati- 
bilities] with us. Wee [must] often deceive others, lest 

The Third Booke Chap. X 257 

we beguile ourselves. And seele our eyes, and dull our 
understanding, thereby to repaire and amend them. 7m- 
periti enim judicant, et qui frequenter in hoc ipsum fallendi 
sunt, ne errent. For unskilfull men judge, who must often 
even therefore he deceived, lest they erre and hee deceived. 
When they prescribe us, to love three, foure yea fifty 
degrees of things before our selves, they present us with 
the Arte of shooters, who to come neere the marke take 
their aime far above the same. To make a crooked sticke 
straight, ive hend it the contrary way. I suppose that in 
the [Temple] of Pallas, as we see in all other religions, 
they had some apparant mysteries, of which they made 
shew to all the people, and others more high and secret, 
to be imparted onely to such as were professed. It is 
likely, that the true point of friendship, which every man 
oweth to himselfe, is to be found in these. Not a false 
amitie, which makes us embrace glory, knowledge, riches, 
and such like, with a principall and immoderate affection, 
as members of our being ; nor an effeminate and indiscreet 
friendship ; Wherein hapneth as to the Ivie, which corrupts 
and ruines the wals it claspeth : But a sound and regular 
amity, equally profitable and pleasant. Who so under- 
standeth all her duties and exerciseth them, hee is rightly 
endenized in the Muses cabinet : Hee hath attained the type 
of humane Wisedome and the perfection of our happinesse. 
This man knowing exactly what hee oweth to himselfe, 
findeth, that he ought to employ the use of other men and 
of the world unto himselfe ; which to performe, he must 
contribute the duties and offices that concerne him unto 
publike societie. He that lives not somewhat to otherSy 
liveth little to himselfe. Qui sihi amicus est, scito hunc 
amicum omnibus esse (Sen. Epist. vi. f.); He that is friend 
to himselfe, knoiv, he is friend to all. The principall 
charge we have, is every man his particular conduct. And 
for this onely wee live here. As he that should forget 
to live well and religiously, and by instructing and direct- 
ing others should thinke himselfe acquitted of his duty, 
would be deemed a foole : Even so, who forsaketh to live 
healthy and merrily himself, therwith to serve another, 
in mine opinion taketh a bad and unnaturall course. I 
will not, that in any charge one shall take in hand, he 
refuse or thinke much of his attention, of his labour, of his 

258 Montaigne's Essayes 

steps, of his speech, of his sweat, and if need be of his 

— non ipse pro caris amicis, 
Aut patria timidus perire. 

HoR. Car. iv. Od. ix. 51. 

Not fearing life to end 

For Country or deare friend. 

But it is onely borowed and accidentally ; The minde 
remaining ever quiet and in health, not without action, but 
without vexation or passion. Simply to moove or be 
dooing, costs it so little, that even sleeping it is mooving 
and dooing. But it must have it's motion with discretion. 
For the body receiveth the charges imposed him, justly 
as they are : But the spirit extendeth them, and often to 
his hinderance makes them heavy; giving them what 
measure it pleaseth. Like things are effected by divers 
efforts and different contentions of will. The one may 
goe v/ithout the other. For, how many men doe dayly 
hazard themselves in warre which they regard not, and 
presse into the danger of the battels, the losse wherof shall 
no whit breake their next sleep? Whereas some man in 
his own house, free from this danger, which he durst not 
so much as have look't towards it, is for the wars issue 
more passionate, and therewith hath his minde more per- 
plexed, than the souldier, that therin employeth both his 
blood and life. I know how to deale in publike charges, 
without departing from my selfe [see Notes] . This sharp- 
nesse and violence of desires hindreth more, then steade 
the conduct of w^hat we undertake, filling us with im- 
patience to the events, either contrary or slow : and with 
bitternesse and jealousie toward those with whom we nego- 
tiate. Wee never governe that thing well, wherewith we 
are possessed and directed. 

— Male cuncta ministrat 

Fury and haiste doe lay all waste, 
Misplacing all, disgracing all, 

He who therein employeth but his judgement and direction, 
proceeds more cheerefully : he faines, he yeelds, he deferres 
at his pleasure according to the occasions of necessity : hee 
failes of his attempt, without torment or affliction : ready 

The Third Booke Chap. X 259 

and prepared for a new enterprise. He marcheth alwaies 
with the reines in his hand. He that is besotted with this 
violent and tyrannicall intention, doth necessarily declare 
much indiscretion and injustice. The violence of his 
desire transports him. They are rash motions, and if for- 
tune helpe not much, of little fruit. Philosophie wills us to 
banish choller in the punishment of offences ; not to the end 
reveng-e should be more moderate, but contrary, more 
weighty and surely set on : whereunto this violence seemeth 
to bee a let. Choller doth not onely trouble, but wearieth 
the executioners armes. This passionate heat dulleth and 
consumes their force. As in too much speede, festiuatio 
tarda est, Hastinesse is slow. Haste makes waste, and 
hinders and stayes it selfe : Ipsa se velocitas implicat; 
Swijtnesse entangles it selfe. As for example, according- 
as by ordinary custome I perceive, covetousnesse hath no 
greater let, then it selfe. The more violent and extended 
it is, the lesse effectuall and fruitfull. Commonly it gathers 
wealth more speedily being masked Vv^ith a shew of liberality. 
A very honest Gentleman and my g-ood friend, was likely to 
have endangered the health of his body, by an over pas- 
sionate attention and earnest affection to the affaires of a 
Prince, who w^as his Maister. Which Maister hath thus 
described himselfe unto me : That as another, he discerneth 
and hath a feeling- of the burthen of accidents : but such as 
have .no remedie, he presently resolveth to suffer with 
patience : For the rest, after he hath appointed necessary 
provisions, which by the vlvacltle and nimblenesse of his 
wit hee speedily effects, hee then attends the event with 
quietnesse. Verily, I have scene in him at one instant a 
great carelesnesse and llbertle, both in his actions and coun- 
tenance : Even in important and diflficult affaires. I finde 
him more magnanimous and capable. In bad then in good 
fortune. His losses are to him more glorious, than his 
victories ; and his mourning than his triumphs. Consider 
fhow in meere valne and frivolous actions, as at chesse, 
jtennis and such like sports, this earnest and violent en- 
[ gaging with an amblcious desire to winne, doth presently 
least both minde and llmmes Into disorder and Indiscretion. 
Wherein a man doth both dazle his sight and distemper his 
(whole body. Hee who demeaneth himselfe with most 
i moderation both in winning and loosing, is ever neerest 

26o Montaigne's Essayes 

unto himselfe, and hath his wits best about him. The 
lesse hee is mooved or passionate in play, the more safely 
doth he governe the same, and to his greater advantage. 
We hinder the mindes seazure and holdfast, by giving her 
so many things to seize upon. Some wee should onely 
present unto her, others fasten upon her, and others incor- 
porate into her. Shee may see and feele all things, but 
must onely feede on hir selfe : And bee instructed in that 
which properly concerneth her, and which meerely belong- 
eth to her essence and substance. The lawes of nature 
teach us what is just and fit for us. After the wise-men 
have told us, that according to nature no man is indigent 
or wanteth, and that each-one is poore but in his owne 
opinion, they also distinguish subtilly, the desires proceed- 
ing from nature, from such as grow from the disorders 
of our fantasie. Those whose end may be discerned are 
meerely hirs ; and such as flie before us and whose end we 
cannot attaine, are properly ours. Want of goods may, 
easily he cured, but the poverty of the minde, is incurable. 

Nam si, quod satis est homini, id satis esse potesset, 
Hoc sat erat, nunc, quuni hoc non est, qui credimiis porro 
Divitias ullas animum mi explere potesse ? 

If it might be enough, that is enough for man, 

This were enough, since it is not, how thinke we can 

Now any riches fill 

My minde and greedy will? 

Socrates seeing great store of riches, Jewells and pre- 
tious stuffe carried in pompe through the City : Oh how 
many things (quoth he) doe not I desire ! Metrodorus lived 
daily with the weight of twelve ounces of food : Epicurus 
with lesse : Metrocles in winter lay with sheepe, and in 
summer in the Cloisters of Churches. Sufficit ad id natura, 
quod poscit (Sen. Epist. xc). Nature is sufficient for that 
which it requires. Cleanthes lived by his hands, and 
boasted, that if Cleanthes would, he could nourish another 
Cleanthes. If that which nature doth exactly and origin- 
ally require at our handes, for the preservation of our 
being, is over little (as in truth what it is, and how good 
cheape our life may be maintained, cannot better be known 
or expressed than by consideration. That it is so little, 
and for the smalnesse thereof, it is out of Fortunes reach, 
and she can take no hold of it) let us dispense something 

The Third Booke Chap. X 261 

els unto our selves, and call the custome and condition of 
every-one of us by the name of Nature. Let us taxe and 
stint and feede our selves according to that measure; let 
us extend both our appurtenances and reckonings there- 
unto. For so farre, mee seemes, we have some excuse : 
Custome is a second Nature , and no lesse power full. What 
is wanting to [my] custome, I hold it a defect : And I had 
well nigh as leefe one should deprive mee of my life, as 
refraine or much abridge me of my state wherein I have 
lived so long. I am no more upon termes of any great 
alteration nor to thruste my selfe into a new and un-usuall 
course, no not toward augmentation : it is no longer time 
to become other or be transformed. And as I should com- 
plaine if any great adventure should now befall me, and 
grieve it came not in time that I might have enjoyed the 

Quo mihi fortuna, si non conceditur uti? 

HOR. i. Epist. V. 12. 
Whereto should I have much, 
If I to use it grutch? 

I should likewise bee grieved at any inward purchase : I 
were better in a manner, never, than so late, to become an 
honest man : and well practised to live, when one hath no 
longer life. I who am ready to depart this World, could 
easily be induced, to resigne the share of wisedome I have 
learn 't, concerning the Worlds commerce, to any other 
man new-come into the world. It is even as good as Mus- 
tard after dinner. What neede have I of that good, which 
I cannot enjoy? Whereto serveth knowledge, if one have 
no head? It is an injury and disgrace of Fortune, to 
offer us those presents, which forsomuch as they faile us 
when we should most neede them, fill us with a just spite. 
Guide me no more : I can go no longer. Of so many dis- 
membrings that Sufficiency hath, patience sufficeth us. 
Give the capacity of an excellent treble to a Singer, that 
hath his lungs rotten ; and of eloquence to a hermit confined 
into the Deserts of Arabia. There needs no Arte to further 
a fall. The end findes it selfe in the finishing of every 
worke. My world is at an end, my forme is expired. I 
am wholly of the time past. And am bound to authorize 
the same, and thereto conforme my issue. I will say this 
by way of example ; that the eclipsing or abridging of tenne 
dayes, which the Pope hath lately caused, hath taken me so 

262 Montaigne's Essayes 

low, that I can hardly recover my selfe. I follow the 
yeares, wherein we were wont to compt otherwise. Sc 
long and antient a custome doth challenge and recall me 
to it againe. I am thereby enforced to be somewhat an 
hereticke : Incapable of innovation, though corrective. 
My imagination mauger my teeth runnes still tenne dayes 
before, or tenne behinde, and whispers in mine eares : This 
rule toucheth those, which are to come. If health it selfe 
so sweetly-pleasing, comes to me but by fittes, it is rather 
to give me cause of griefe then possession of it selfe. I 
have no where left mee to retire it. Time forsakes me ; 
without vv^hich nothing is enjoyed. How small accompt 
should I make of these great elective dignities I see in the 
world, and which are onely given to men, ready to leave 
the world ; wherein they regard not so much how duely 
they shall discharge them, as how little they shall exercise 
them : from the beginning they looke to the end. To 
conclude, I am ready to finish this man, not to make 
another. By long custome, this forme is changed into sub- 
stance, and Fortune into Nature. I say therefore, that 
amongst us feeble creatures, each one is excusable to compt 
that his owne, which is comprehended under measure. 
And yet all beyond these limits, is nothing but confusion. 
It is the largest extension we can grant our rights. The 
more we amplifie our neede and possession, the more we 
engage our selves to the crosses of fortune and adversities. 
The cariere of our desires must be circumscribed, and tied 
to strict bounds of neerest and contiguous commodities. 
Moreover, their course should be managed, not in a 
straight line, having another end, but round, whose two 
points hold together, and end in our selves with a short 
compasse. The actions governed without this reflection, 
I meane a neere and essentiall reflection, as those of the 
covetous, of the ambitious and so many others, that runne 
directly point-blancke, the course of which carrieth them 
away before them, are erroneous and crazed actions. Most 
of our vacations are like playes. Mundus universus exercet 
histrioniam. All the world doth practise stage-playing. 
Wee must play our parts duly, but as the part of a bor- 
rowed personage. Of a visard and apparance, wee should 
not make a real essence, nor proper of that which is 
another. Wee cannot distinguish the skinne from the 

The Third Booke Chap. X 263 

shirt. It is sufficient to disguise the face, without deform- 
ing the breast. I see some transforme and transubstantiate 
themselves, into as many new formes and strange beings, 
as they undertake charges : and who emprelate themselves 
even to the heart and entrailes ; and entraine their offices 
even sitting on their close stoole. I cannot teach them to 
distinguish the salutations and cappings of such as reg'ard 
them, from those that respect either their office, their traine 
or their mule. Tantum se jortunce permittunt, etiam ut 
naturam. dediscant. They give the7nselves so much over 
to Fortune, as they forget Nature. They swell in minde 
and puffe up their naturall discourse, according to the 
dignity of their office. The Maior of Bourdeaux, and 
Michael Lord of Montaigne, have ever beene two, by an 
evident separation. To be an advocate or a Treasurer, 
one should not be ignorant of the craft incident to such 
callings. An honest man is not comptable for the vice and 
folly of his trade, and therefore ought not to refuse the 
exercise of it. It is the custome of his country ; and there 
is profit in it. We must live by the World, and such as 
we finde it, so make use of it. But the judgement of an 
Emperour should be above his Empire ; and to see and con- 
sider the same as a strange accident. He should know how 
to enjoy himselfe apart ; and communicate himselfe as 
James and Peter, at least to himselfe. I cannot so abso- 
lutely or so deepely engage my selfe. When my wil gives 
me to any party, it is not with so violent a bond, that my 
understanding is thereby infected. In the present intestine 
trouble of our State, my interest hath not made me forget 
neither the commendable qualities of our adversaries, nor 
the reproachfull of those I have followed. They partially 
extoll what ever is on their side : I doe not so much as 
excuse the greater number of my friends actions. A good 
Oratour loseth not his grace by pleading against me. The 
intricatenesse of our debate remooved, I have maintained 
my selfe in equanimity and pure indifferency. Neque extra 
necessitates belli, prcecipuum odium gero. Nor heare I 
capitall hatred, when I am out of the necessitie of warre. 
Wherein I glory, for that commonly I see men erre in the 
[contrary. Such as extend their choller and hatred, beyond 
their affaires (as most men doe) shew that it proceedes else- 
whence, and from some private cause : Even as one being 

264 Montaigne's Essayes 

cured of an ulcer, and his fever remaineth still, declareth 
it had another more hidden beginning. It is the reason 
they beare none unto the cause, in generall : and forsomuch 
as it concerneth the interest of all, and of the state : But 
they are vexed at it, onely for this ; that it toucheth them 
in private. And therefore are they distempered with a 
particular passion, both beyond justice and publike reason. 
Non tarn omnia universi, quam ea, quce ad quemque perti- 
nent, singuli carpehant. All did not so much finde fault 
with all, as every one with those that appertained to every 
one. I will have the advantage to be for us, which though 
it be not, I enrage not. I stand firmely to the sounder 
parts. But I affect not to be noted a private enemy to 
others, and beyond generall reason. I greatly accuse this 
vicious forme of obstinate contesting : He is of the League, 
because he admireth the grace of the Duke of Guise: or 
he is a Hugonote, forsomuch as the King of Navarres 
activitie amazeth him : He finds fault in the Kings be- 
haviours, therefore he is sedicious in his heart. I would 
not give the magistrate my voice, that he had reason to 
condemne a booke, because an heretick was therein named 
and extolled to be one of the best Poets of this age. Dare 
wee not say that a theefe hath a good leg? if he have so 
indeed? If she be a strumpet, must she needs have a 
stinking breath? In wiser ages, revoked they the proud 
title of Capitolinus, they had formerly given to Marcus 
Manlius, as the preserver of religion and publike libertie? 
Suppressed they the memory of his liberalitie, his deeds of 
armes and military rewards granted to his vertues, because 
to the prejudice of his countries lawes, he afterward 
affected a Royalty? If they once conceive a hatred against 
an Orator or an advocate, the next day he becommeth 
barbarous and uneloquent. I have elswhere discoursed of 
zeale, which hath driven good men into like errours. For 
my selfe, I can say : that he doth wickedly, and this ver- 
tuously. Likewise, in prognostickes or sinister events of 
affaires, they will have every man blinde or dull in his owne 
cause : and that our perswasion and judgement, serve not 
the truth but the project of our desires. I should rather 
erre in the other extremity; So much I feare my desire 
might corrupt me. Considering, I somewhat tenderly dis- 
trust my selfe in things I most desire. I have in my dayes 

The Third Booke Chap. X 265 

scene wonders, in the indiscreet and prodigious facilitle of 
people, suffering their hopes and beliefes, to be led and 
governed, as it hath pleased and best fitted their leaders : 
above a hundred discontents, one in the necke of another : 
and beyond their fantasies and dreames. I wonder no 
more at those, whom the apish toyes of Apollonius and 
Mahomet have seduced and blinded : Their sense and 
understanding is wholly smothered in their passion. Their 
discretion hath no other choise but what pleaseth them and 
furthereth their cause. Which I had especially observed 
in the beginning of our distempered factions and factious 
troubles. This other which is growne since, by imitation 
surmounteth the same. Whereby I observe, that it is an 
inseparable quality of popular errours. The first beeing 
gone, opinions entershocke one another, following the 
winde, as waves doe. They are no members of the body, 
if they may renounce it ; if they folow not the common 
course. But truely they wrong the just parts, when they 
seeke to helpe them with fraude or deceipts. I have alwaies 
contracted the same. This meane is but for sicke braines ; 
The healthy have surer and honester wayes to maintaine 
their resolutions and excuse all contrary accidents. The 
Heavens never saw so weighty a discord and so harmefull 
a hatred, as that betweene Ccesar and Pompey, nor ever 
shall hereafter : Mee seemeth notwithstanding, I see in 
those noble and Heroicall mindes, an exemplar and great 
moderation of the one toward the other. It was a jelousie 
of honour and emulation of command, which transported 
them, not to a furious and indiscreete hatred; without 
malice or detraction. In their sharpest exploites, I dis- 
cover some reliques of respect and cinders of well-meaning 
affection. And I imagine, that had it beene possible, either 
fof them desired rather to effect his purpose without over- 
j throwing his competitour, than by working his utter ruine. 
Note how contrary the proceeding was betweene Sylla and 
, Marius. We must not runne headlong after our affections 
land private interests. As in my youth, I ever opposed 
I my selfe to the motions of love, which I felt to usurpe upon 
|i me, and laboured to diminish its delights, lest in the end 
i it might vanquish and captivate me to his mercy : So do 
I now in all other occasions, which my will apprehendeth 
with an over great appetite. I bend to the contrary of my 

266 Montaigne's Essayes 

disposition, as I see the same plunged and drunke with it's 
owne Wine. I shunne so farre foorth to nourish her plea- 
sure, as I may not revoke it without a bloody losse. Those 
mindes which through stupidity see things but by halves, 
enjoy this happinesse, that such as be hurtfull, offend them 
least : It is a spirituall leprosie, that hath some shew of 
health, and such a health, as Philosophy doth not altogether 
contemne. But yet it may not lawfully be termed wise- 
dome; as we often doe. And after this manner did in 
former times some body mocke Dio genes , who in the dead 
of Winter, went all naked, embracing an image of Snow, 
to try his patience ; Who meeting him in this order, said 
thus unto him; Art thou now very colde? Nothing at all, 
answered Diogenes. What thinkest thou to doe then, that 
is either hard or exemplar by standing in the cold.e ? replied 
the other : To measure consta>ncy , we must necessarily 
know sufferance. But such minds as must behold crosse 
events, and fortunes injuries in their height an-d sharpnesse, 
which must weigh and taste them according to their naturall 
bitternesse and charge, let them employ their skil and keep 
themselves from embracing the causes, and divert their 
approaches. What did King Cotys? He payed liberally 
for that goodly and rich Vessell, which one had presented 
unto him, but forsomuch as it was exceeding brittle, he 
presently brake it himselfe, that so betimes he might re- 
moove so easie an occasion of choller against his servants. 
I have in like sort shunned confusion in my affaires, and 
sought not to have my goods contiguous to my neighbours, 
and to such as I am to be linked in strict friendshippe : 
Whence commonly ensue causes of alienation and unkind- 
nesse. I have heeretofore loved the hazardous play of 
Gardes and Dice, I have long since left it, onely for this 
that notwithstanding any faire semblance I made in my 
losses, I was inwardly disquieted. Let a man of honour, 
who is to take a lie or endure an outragious wrong, and 
cannot admit a bad excuse for paiment or satisfaction, 
avoid the progresse of contentious altercations. I shunne 
melancholike complexions and froward men, as infected. 
And in matters, I cannot talke-of without interest and emo- 
tion, I meddle not with them, except duty constraine mee 
thereunto. Melius non incipient quam desinent. They 
shall better not beginne, than leave off. The surest way. 

The Third Booke Chap. X 267 

is then to prepare our selves before occasion. I know that 
some wisemen have taken another course, and have not 
feared to engage and vehemently to insinuate themselves 
into diverse objects. Those assure themselves of their 
own strength, under which they shrowd themselves against 
all manner of contrary events, making mischiefes to wrestle 
one against another, by vigor and vertue of patience : 

Velut rupes vastum quce prodit in cequor, 
Ohvia ventorum furiis expostaque ponto. 
Vim cuncta7n atque minas perfett ccelique marisque, 

— ipsa immota manens. — ViRG. jEn. x. 693. 
Much like a rocke, which buts into the Maine, 
Meeting with windes-rage, to the Sea laid plaine, 
It doth the force of skies and Seas sustains, 
Endure their threats, yet doth unmoov'd remaine. 

Let us not imitate these examples, we shall not attaine 
them. They opinionate themselves resolutely to behold, 
and without perturbation to be spectatours of their Coun- 
tries ruine, which wilome possessed and commaunded their 
full will. As for our vulgar mindes, therein is too much 
effort and roughnesse. Cato quit thereby the noblest life 
that ever was. Wee seely-ones must seeke to escape the 
storme further off : We ought to provide for apprehension 
and not for patience, and avoid the blowes wee cannot 
withstand. Zeno seeing Chremonides a young man whom 
he loved, approach to sit neere him ; rose up sodainly, 
Cleanthes asking him the reason : I understand (saith hee) 
that Physitions above all things prescribe rest, and forbid 
emotion in all tumors. Socrates saith not ; yeeld not to 
the allurements of beauty ; maintaine it, enforce our selves 
to the contrary ; Shunne her (saith hee) runne out of her 
sight and company ; as from a violent poison, that infecteth 
and stingeth farre-off. And his good Disciple, faining or 
reciting, but in mine opinion, rather reciting then faining, 
the matchles perfections of that great CyruSy describeth 
him distrusting his forces to withstand the blandishments 
or allurings of the divine beautie of that famous Panthea 
his Captive, committing the visitation and guarde of her to 
an other, that had lesse libertie then himselfe. And like- 
wise the Holy-Ghost saith, ne nos inducas in tentationem 
{Matth. VI. 13), and lead us not into temptation. We pray 
not that our reason be not encountred and vanquished by 
concupiscence : but that it be not so much as assayed there- 


268 Montaigne's Essayes 

with : That we bee not reduced to an estate, where we 
should but suffer the approaches, solHcitations and tempta- 
tions of sinne : and we entreat our Lord, to keepe our con- 
science quiet, fully perfectly free from all commerce of evill. 
Such as say they have reason for their revenging passion, 
or any other minde-troubling perturbation : say often truth, 
as things are, but not as they were. They speake to us, 
when the causes of their error are by themselves fostred 
and advanced. But retire further backeward, recall their 
causes to their beginning : there you surprise and put them 
to a non-plus. Would they have their fault be lesse, 
because it is more ancient ; and that of an unjust beginning, 
the progresse be just? He that (as I doe) shall wish his 
countries well-fare, without fretting or pining himselfe, 
shall be grieved, but not swoune, to see it threatning, either 
his owne downefall, or a continuance no lesse ruinous. 
Oh seely-weake barke, whom both waves, windes and Pilot, 
hull and tosse to so contrary desseignes : 

— in tarn diversa, magistcr, 
Ventus et unda trahunt. 

Maister the wave and winde 
So divers wayes doe binde. 

Who gapes not after the favour of Princes, as after a 
thing without which hee cannot live ; nor is much disquieted 
at the coldnes of their entertainment or frowning coun- 
tenance, nor regardeth the inconstancy of their will. Who 
hatcheth not his children or huggeth not honours, with a 
slavish propension, nor leaves to live commodiously having 
once lost them. Who doth good, namely for his owne satis- 
faction, nor is much vexed to see men censure of his actions 
against his merit. A quarter of an ownce of patience 
provideth for such inconveniences. I finde ease in this 
receiit : redeeming my selfe in the beginning, as good 
cheape as I can : By which meanes I perceive my selfe to 
have escaped much trouble and manifold difficulties. With 
very little force, I stay these first motions of my perturba- 
tions : And I abandon the subject which beginnes to molest 
me, and before it transport mee. Hee that stops not the i 
loose, shall hardly stay the course. He that cannot shut i 
the doore against them,shal never exp ell therriheing entred. 
He that cannot attaine an end in the beginning, shall not 

The Third Booke Chap. X 269 

come to an end of the conclusion. Nor shall he endure the 
fall, that coidd not endure the starts of it. Etenim ipsce se 
impellunt, ubi semel a ratione discessum est, ipsaque sihi 
inihecillitas indulget, in altumque provehitur imprudens : 
nee reperit locum consistendi (Cic. Tusc. Qu. iv.). For 
they drive themselves headlong, when once they are parted 
and past reason, and weaknesse soothes it selfe, a/nd un- 
awares is carried into the deepe, nor can it finde a place to 
tarry in. I feele betimes, the low windes, which are fore- 
runners of the storme, buzze in mine eares and sound 
and trie me within : 

— ceu flatnina prima 
Cum deprensa fremunt sylvis, et cceca volutant 
Murmura, venturos nautis prodentia ventos. 

ViRG. /En. X. 97. 

As first blasts in the woods perceiv'd to goe, 
Whistle, and darkely speake in murmurs low, 
Foretelling Marriners what windes will grow. 

How often have I done my selfe an apparant injustice, 
to avoide the danger I should fall into, by receiving the 
same, happily worse, from the judges, after a world of 
troubles, and of foule, and vile practices, more enemies to 
my naturall disposition, then fire or torment? Convenit 
a litibus quantum licet, et nescio an paulo plus etiam quam 
licet, abhorrentem esse ; Est enim non modo liberale, paulu- 
lum nonnunquam de suo jure decedere, sed interdum etiam, 
fructuosum (Cic. Off. i.). As much as wee may, and it may 
be more then we may, we should abhorre brabling and law- 
ing ; for it is not onely an ingenious pa^t, but sometimes 
profitable also at sometimes to yeeld a little of our right. 
If we were wise indeede, we should rejoyce and glory, as 
I heard once a yong-gentleman, borne of a very great 
house, very wittily and unfainedly, rejoyce with all men 
that his mother had lost her sute ; as if it had beene a cough, 
an ague, or any other yrksome burthen. The favours, 
which fortune might have given mee, as aliances and ac- 
quaintances with such as have Soveraigne authority in those 
things; I have, in my conscience done much instantly to 
evoide imploying them to others prejudice, and not over- 
value my rights above their worth. To conclude, I have 
so much prevailed by my endeavours (in a good houre I 
may speake it) that I am yet a virgin for any sutes in law, 


270 Montaigne's Essayes 

which have notwithstanding not omitted gently to offer 
me their service, and under pretence of lawful! titles insinu- 
ate themselves into my allowance, would I but have given 
eare unto them. And as a pure maiden from quarrels ; I 
have without important offence, either passive or active, 
lingred out a long life, and never heard worse than mine 
owne name. A rare grace of heaven. Our greatest agita- 
tions, have strange springs and ridiculous causes. What 
ruine did our last Duke of Burgundy runne into, for the 
quarrell of a cart-load of sheepes-skinnes? And was not 
the graving of a scale, the chiefe cause of the most horrible 
breach and topsie-turvy, that ever this worlds-frame en- 
dured? For Pompey and Ccesar are but the new buddings 
and continuation of two others. And I have scene in my 
time, the wisest heads of this realme assembled with great 
ceremony and publike charge, about treaties and agree- 
ments, the true deciding whereof depended in the meane 
while absolutely and soveraignely of the will and consulta- 
tions held in some Ladies pate or cabinet ; and of the in- 
clination of some silly woman. Poets have most judiciously 
look't into this, who but for an apple have set all Greece 
and Asia on fire and sword. See why that man doth 
hazzard both his honour and life on the fortune of his rapier 
and dagger ; let him tell you whence the cause of that con- 
tention ariseth ; he can not without blushing : so vaine and 
so frivolous is the occasion. To embarke him, there needes 
but little advisement, but being once-in, all parts doe 
worke ; Then are greater provisions required, more difficult 
and important. How farre more easie is it not to enter, 
than to get forth? We must proceed contrary to the brier, 
which produceth a long and straight stalke at the first 
springing; but after, as tired and out of breath, it makes 
many and thicke knots, as if they were pawses, shewing 
to have no more that vigor and constancy. Wee should 
rather begin gently and leasurely ; and keepe our strength 
and breath for the perfection of the worke. We direct 
affaires in the beginning, and hold them at our mercy, but 
being once undertaken, they guide and transport us, and 
we must follow them. Yet may it not be said, that this 
counsell hath freed me from all difficulties, and that I have 
not beene often troubled to controle and bridle my pas- 
sions : which are not alwayes governed according to the 

The Third Booke Chap. X 271 

measure of occasions : whose entrances are often sharpe 
and violent. So is it, that thence may be reaped good fruit 
and profit. Except for those, who in well doing- are not 
satisfied with any benefit, if their reputation be in question. 
For in truth, such an effect is not compted of but by every 
one to himselfe. You are thereby better satisfied, but not 
more esteemed, having reformed your selfe, before you 
come into action or the matter was in sight : yet not in 
this onely, but in all other duties of life, their course which 
aime at honour, is diverse from that, which they propound 
unto themselves, that follow order and reason. I finde 
some, that inconsiderately and furiously thrust themselves 
into the lists, and grow slacke in the course. As Plutarke 
saith, that Such as by the vice of bashfulnesse are soft and 
tractable to graunt -whatsoever is demanded, are afterward 
as prone and facile to recant and breake their word: In 
like manner, he that enters lightly into a quarrel, is subject 
to leave it as lightly. The same difficulty which keepes 
me from embracing the same, should encite me, being once 
mooved and therein engaged, to continue resolute. It is 
an ill custome. Being once embarked, one must either goe 

on or sinke Attempt coldly (sayed Byas) but pursue hotly. 

For want of judgement, our hearts faile us ; Which is also 
lesse tolerable. Most agreements of our moderne quarrels, 
are shamefull and false : We onely seeke to save appar- 
ances, and therewhilst betray and disavow our true inten- 
tions. W'e salve the deede : We know how wee spake it, 
and in what sence the by-standers know it : yea and our 
friends to whom we would have our advantages knowne. 
It is to the prejudice of our liberty and interest of our reso- 
lutions honour, that we dis-avow our thoughts and seeke 
for starting holes in falshood, to make our agreements. 
W^e bely our selves, to salve a lye we have given to another. 
We must not looke whether your action or word may admit 
another interpretation, but it is your owne true and sincere 
construction, that you must now maintaine, whatsoever it 
cost you. It is to your vertue and to your conscience that 
men speake ; parts that ought not to bee disguised. Leave 
we these base courses, wrangling shifts and verball meanes, 
to petty-fogging Lawyers. The excuses and reparations, 
or satisfactions, which dayly I see made, promised and 
jgiven to purge indiscretion, seeme to me more foule than 

272 Montaigne's Essayes 

indiscretion it selfe. Better were it for one to offend his 
adversary againe, than in giving him such satisfaction, to 
wrong himselfe so much. You have braved him mooved 
by choller, and now you seeke to pacific and flatter him in 
your cold and better sense : Thus you abase your selfe, 
more than you were before exalted. I find no speech so 
vicious in a Gentleman, as I deeme any recantation hee 
shall make, dishonorable; especially if it be wrested from 
him by authority : Forsomuch as obstinacy is in him more 
excusable, than cowardize. Passions are to me as easie 
to be avoyded, as they are difl[icult to be moderated, Excin- 
diintur facilius animo, qua7n temper antur. They are more 
easily rooted out of theminde, than brought to good temper. 
He that cannot attaine to this noble Stoicall impassibility, 
let him shrowd himselfe in the bosome of this my popular 
stupidity. What they did by vertue, I inure my selfe to 
doe by Nature. The middle region harboureth stormes ; 
the two extreames containe Philosophers and rurall men, 
they concurre in tranquility and good hap. 

Fcelix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas, 
Atque metus omnes et inexorahile fatum 
Subjecit pedihus, strepitumque Acherontis avari. 
Fortunatus et ille, Deos qui novit agrestes, 
Pandque, Silvanumque senem, Nymphasque sorores, 

ViRG. Georg. ii, 490. 
Happy is he that could of things the causes finde, 
And subject to his fecte all fearefulnesse of minde, 
Inexorable fate, and noyse of greedy Hell. 
And happy he, with Country Gods acquainted well, 
Pan and old Sylvan knowes, 
And all the sister shrowes. 

The beginnings of all things are weake and tender. We 
must therefore be cleare-sighted in beginnings : For, as in 
their budding we discerne not the danger, so in their full 
growth we perceive not the remedy. I should have en- 
countred a thousand crosses, daily more hard to be digested 
in the course of ambition, than it hath bin uneasie for 
me to stay the naturall inclination, that led me unto them. 

— jure perhorrui, 
Late conspicuum tollere verticem. 

HoR. Car. iii. 16, 18. 
I have beene much afraid for causes right, 
To raise my foretop far abroad to sight. 

All puhlike actions are subject to uncertaine and divers 

The Third Booke Chap. X 273 

interpYetations : For, too many heads judge of them. Some 
say of this my City-employment (whereof I am content to 
speake a word ; not that it deserves it, but to make a shew 
of my manners in such things) I have demeaned my selfe 
like one that is too slowly mooved and with a languishing 
affection : And they are not altogether void of reason. I 
strive to keepe me minde and thoughts quiet. Cum semper 
Natura, turn etiam cetate jam- quietus. Both ever quiet by 
Nature, and now because of yeeres. And if at any time 
they are debauched to some rude and piercing impression, 
it is in truth without my consent. From which naturall 
slacknesse, one must not therefore inferre any proofe of 
disability : For, Want of care and lacke of judgement are 
two things : And lesse unkindnesse and ingratitude towards 
those Citizens, who to gratifie me, employed the utmost of 
all the meanes they could possibly ; both before they knew 
me and since. And who did much more for me, in ap- 
pointing me my charge the second time, then in choosing 
me the first. I love them with all my heart, and wish them 
all the good that may be. And truly if occasion had beene 
offered, I would have spared nothing to have done them 
service. I have stirred and laboured for them, as I doe for 
my selfe. They are good people, warlike and generous ; 
yet capable of obedience and discipline, and fit for good 
employment, if they be well guided. They say likewise, 
that I passed over this charge of mine without any deede 
of note or great shew. It is true. Moreover, they accuse 
my cessation, when as all the world was convicted of too 
much doing : I have a most nimble motion, where my will 
doth carry me. But this point is an enemy unto persever- 
ance. Whosoever will make use of me, according to my 
selfe, let him employ me in affaires, that require vigor and 
liberty : that have a short, a straight, and there withall a 
hazardous course : I may peradventure somewhat prevaile 
therein. Whereas if it be tedious, crafty, laborious, 
artificiall and intricate, they shall doe better to addresse 
themselves to some other man. All charges of importance 
are not difficult. I was prepared to labour somewhat more 
earnestly, if there had beene great neede. For it lyes in 
my power, to doe something more than I make shew-of, 
and than I love to doe. To my knowledge, I have not 
omitted any motion that duty required earnestly at my 

274 Montaigne's Essayes 

hands. I have easily forgotten those, which ambition 
blendeth with duty and cloketh with her title. It is they, 
which most commonly fill the eyes and eares, and satisfie 
men. Not the thing- it selfe, but the apparance payeth 
them. If they heare no noise, they imagine we sleepe. My 
humours are contrary to turbulent humors. I could pacific 
an inconvenience or trouble without troubling my selfe, and 
chastise a disorder without alteration. 

Have I neede of choUer and inflammation ; I borrow it, 
and therewith maske my selfe : My maners are musty, 
rather wallowish then sharpe. I accuse not a Magistrate 
that sleepeth, so they that are under it sleepe also. So 
sleepe the lawes. For my part, I commend a gliding, an 
obscure and reposed life : Neque submissam et ahjectam, 
neque se efferentem (Cic. Off. i.). Neyther too abject and 
siibmisse, nor vaunting it selfe too much. But my fortune 
will have it so ; I am descended of a family that hath 
lived without noise and tumult : and of long continuance 
particularly ambitious of integrity. Our men are so 
framed to agitation and ostentations that goodnesse, 
moderation, equity, constancy, and such quiet and meane 
qualities, are no more heard of. Rough bodies are felt, 
smooth ones are handled imperceptibly. Sickenesse is 
felt, health little or not at all : nor things that annoint us, 
in regard of such as sting us. It is an action for ones 
reputation and private commodity, and not for the common 
good, to refer that to be done in the market place, which 
a man may do in the counsel-chamber : and at noone day, 
what might have beene effected the night before : and to 
be jealous to doe that himselfe, which his fellow can per- 
forme as well. So did some Surgeons of Greece shew the 
operations of their skill, upon scaffolds, in view of all 
passengers, thereby to get more practise and custome. 
They suppose, that good orders 'cannot be understood, but 
by the sound of a trumpet. Ambition is no vice for petty 
companions, and for such endevours as ours. One said 
to Alexander: your father will leave you a great com- 
maund, easie and peacefull : the boy was envious of his 
fathers victories, and of the justice of his government. He 
would not have enjoyed the worlds Empire securely and 
quietly. Alcibiades in Plato, loveth rather to die yong, 
faire, rich, noble, learned, and all that in excellence, then 

The Third Booke Chap. X 275 

to stay in the state of such a condition. This infirmity is 
happily excusable, in so strong- and full a minde. When 
these petty wretched soules, are therewith enveagled; and 
thinke to publish their fame, because they have judged a 
cause rightly, or continued the order in guarding of a 
Cities gates ; by how much more they hoped to raise their 
head, so much more doe they shew their simplicity. This 
petty well-doing, hath neither body nor life. It vanisheth 
in the first moneth ; and walkes but from one corner of a 
street to another. Entertaine therewith your sonne and 
your servant, and spare not. As that ancient fellow^ who 
having no other auditor of his praises and applauding of 
his sufficiency, boasted with his chamber-maide, exclaim- 
ing : Oh Perette, what a gallant and sufficient man thou 
hast to thy maister ! If the worst happen, entertaine your 
selves in your selves : As a Councellour of my acquaintance, 
having degorged a rable of paragraphes, with an extreame 
contention and like foolishnesse ; going out of the counsell 
chamber, to a pissing place neere unto it ; was heard very 
conscicnciously to utter these words to himself e : Non nobis y 
Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam {Psal. cxv, 
i). Not unto uSy O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name 
give the glory. He that cannot otherwise, let him pay him- 
selfe out of his owne purse. Fame doth not so basely prosti- 
tute it selfe, nor so cheape. Rare and exemplar actions, to 
which it duly belongeth, could not brooke the company of 
this innumerable multitude of vulgar petty actions. Well 
may a piece of marble raise your titles as high as you list, 
because you have repaired a piece of an olde Wall, or 
cleansed a common ditch, but men of judgement will never 
doe it. Report followeth not all goodnesse, except difficulty 
and rarietie be joyned thereunto. Yea simple estimation, ac- 
cording to the Stoikes, is not due to every action proceed- 
ing from vertue. Neither would they have him com- 
mended, who through temperance abstaineth from an old 
blear-ey'd woman. Such as have knowen the admirable 
qualities of Scipio the Affrican, renounce the glory which, 
Pancetius ascribeth unto him, to have abstained from gifts, 
as a glory, not his, alone, but peculiar to that age. We 
have pleasures sortable to our fortune ; let us not usurpe 
those of greatnesse. Our owne are more naturall. They 
are the more solide and firme, by how much the meaner. 

276 Montaigne's Essayes 

Since it is not for conscience, at least for ambition let us 
refuse ambition. Let us disdaine this insatiate thirst of 
honour and renowne, base and beggerly, which makes us 
so suppliantly to crave it of all sorts of people : Qucb est 
ista laus quce possit e macello peti? {Cic. De Fin. ii.). 
What praise is this, which may hee fetcht out of the 
Shambles? By abject meanes, and at what vile rate so- 
ever. To be thus honoured, is meerely a dishonour. 
Learne we to hee no more greedy of glory, then we are 
capable of it. To be proud of every profitable and innocent 
action, [is] fit for men to whom it is extraordinary and 
rare. They will value it, for the price it cost them. Ac- 
cording as a good effect is more resounding ; I abate of it's 
goodnesse : the jealousie I conceive, it is produced more 
because it is so resounding, than because it is good. What 
is set out to shew, is halfe solde. Those actions have more 
grace, which carelesly and under silence, passe from the 
handes of a Workeman, and which some honest man after- 
ward chuseth and redeemeth from darkenesse, to thrusi 
them into the worlds light; Onely for their worth. Mih 
quidem laudabiliora videntur omnia, quce sine vendita- 
tione, et sine populo teste fiunt (Cic. Tusc. Qu. ii.) : Ali 
things in sooth seeme to me more commendable that are 
performed with no ostentation; and without the people tc 
witnesse, said the most glorious man of the world. I hac 
no care but to preserve and continue, which are deafe anc 
insensible effects. Innovation is of great lustre : But in- 
terdicted in times, when we are most urged, and have tc 
defend our selves but from novelties; Abstinence from do- 
ing, is often as generous, as doing: but it is not so appar- 
ant. My small worth is in a manner all of this kinde. Tc 
be short, the occasions in this my charge have secondec 
my complexion ; for which I conne them harty thanks, h 
there any man that desireth to be sicke, to see his Physi-' 
tion set a worke? And Should not that Physition be lyeZ.. 
whipped, who to put his arte in practize, would wish the 
plague to infect us? I was never possessed with this im-; 
pious and vulgar passion, to wish that the troubled anc 
distempered state of this City, might raise and honour 
my government. I have most willingly lent them m} 
hand to further, and shoulders to aid their ease and tran- 
quility. He that will not thanke me for the good ordei 

The Third Booke Chap. XI 277 

and for the sweet and undisturbed rest, which hath accom- 
panied my charge ; cannot at least deprive me of that part, 
which by the title of my good fortune belongeth unto me. 
This is my humour, that I love as much to be happy as 
wise : And attribute my successes as much to the meere 
grace of God, as to the meane [or] furtherance of my 
operation. I had sufficiently published to the World my 

insufficiency] in managing- of such publike affaires : Nay, 
there is something in me, worse than insufficiency : Which 
is, that I am not much displeased therewith : and that I 

ndevour not greatly to cure it, considering the course of 
life I have determined to my selfe. Nor have I satisfied 
ny selfe in this employment. But have almost attained 
ivhat I had promised unto my selfe : Yet have I much ex- 
:eeded, what I had promised those, with whom I was to 
legotiate : For I willingly promise somewhat lesse, then 
[ can performe, or hope to accomplish. Of this I am 
issured, I have never left offence or hatred among them : 
To have left either regret or desire of me. This know I 

ertainly, I have not much affected it. 

— Mene huic conjidere tnonstro, 
Mine sails placidi vultutn, fluciusque quietos 
Ignorare? — Virg. /En. v. 849. 

Should I this monster trust? Should I not know 
The calme Seas counterfait dissembling show, 
How quietly sometimes the flouds will go? 



Two or three yeares are now past, since the yeere hath 
beene shortned tenne dayes in Frarice. Oh how many 
changes are Hke to ensue this reformation ! It was a right 
remooving of Heaven and Earth together, yet nothing re- 
mooveth from it's owne place : My Neighbours finde the 
season of their seede and Harvest time, the opportunity 
3f their affaires, their lucky and unlucky dayes, to answer 
just those seasons to which they had from all ages assigned 
them. Neither was the errour heretofore perceived, nor 
is the reformation now discerned in our use. So much 
uncertainty is there in all things : So grosse, so obscure 

278 Montaigne's Essayes 

and so dull [is] our understanding. Some are of opinion, 
this reformation might have bin redressed after a lesse 
incommodious maner ; substracting according to the ex- 
ample of Augustus, for some yeares, the bissextile or 
leape day : Which in some sort, is but a day of hinderance 
and trouble : Untill they might more exactly have satisfied 
the debt : Which by this late reformation is not done : 
For wee are yet some dayes in arrerages : And if by such 
a meane, we might provide for times to come, appoynting 
that after the revolution of such, or such a number of 
yeares, that extraordinary day might for ever be eclipsed : 
so that our misreckoning should not henceforward exceede 
foure and twenty houres. Wee have no other computa- 
tion of time, but yeares : The W^orld hath used them so 
many ages : And yet is it a measure, we have not untill 
this day perfectl}' established. And such, as wee dayly 
doubt, what forme other Nations have diversly given the 
same ; and which was the true use of it. And what if 
some say, that the Heavens in growing olde compresse 
themselves towards us, and cast into an uncertainty of 
houres and dayes? And as Plutarke saith of moneths, 
that even in his dayes, Astrology could not yet limit the 
motion of the Moone? Are not we then well holp-up, to 
keepe a register of things past? LI was even now plod- 
ding (as often I doe) upon this, what free and gadding 
instrument humane reason is. I ordinarily see, that men, 
in matters proposed them, doe more willingly ammuze 
and busie themselves in seeking out the reasons, than in 
searching out the trueth of them. They omit presupposi- 
tions, but curiously examine consequences. They leave 
things, and runne to causes. Oh conceited [discoursers] ! 
The knowledge of causes doth onely concerne him, who 
hath the conduct of things : Not us, that have but the 
sufferance of them. And who according to our neede, 
without entering into their beginning and essence, have 
perfectly the full and absolute use of them. Nor is wine 
more pleasant unto him that knowes the first faculties of 
it. Contrariwise, both the body and the minde, interrupt 
and alter the right, which they have of the worlds use 
and of themselves, commixing therewith the opinion of 
learning. The effects concerne us, but the meanes, no- 
thing at all. To determine and distribute, belongeth tol 

The Third Booke Chap. XI 279 

superiority and regency : as accepting, to subjection and 
apprentiseshippe. Let us re-assume our custome. They 
commonly beginne thus : How is such a thing done ? 
Whereas they should say: Is such a thing done? Our 
discourse is capable to frame an hundred other Worlds, 
and finde the beginnings and contexture of them. It needeth 
neither matter nor ground. Let it but runne on : It will 
as well build upon emptinesse, as upon fulnesse, and with 
inanity as with matter. 

Dare pondiis idonea fumo. — Pers. Sat. v. 20.. 
That things which vanish straight 
In smoke, should yet beare weight. 

I finde, that wee should say most times : There is no 
such thing. And I would often employ this answer; but 
I dare not : for they cry : It is a defeature produced by 
ignorance and weakenesse of spirit. And I most com.- 
monly juggle for company sake, to treate of idle subjects 
and frivolous discourses, which I believe nothing at all. 
Since truely, it is a rude and quarellous humour, flatly to 
deny a proposition. And few misse (especially in things 
hard to be perswaded) to afhrme, that they have scene it ; 
Or to alleadge such witnesses, as their authority shall stay 
our contradiction. According to which use, we know the 
foundations and meanes of a thousand things that never 
ere. And the world is in a thousand questions discanted 
and bandied too and fro, the pro and contra of which is 
meerely false. Ita finitima sunt falsa veris, ut in prcecip- 
item locum non debeat se sapiens committere (Cic. Acad. 
Que. iv.). Falsehood is so neere Neighbour to trueih, 
that a wisejjuin should not put himselfe upon a slipperie 
iownefalL ^Triith and falseliood have both alike counten- 
inces, 4^eir^ort^ their taste and their proceedings sem- 
blable : Wee behold them with one same eyes. I observe 
:hat we are not onely slow in defending our selves from 
ieceipt, but that we seeke and sue to embrace it. Wee 
love to meddle and entangle^ur selves with vanity, as 
ponformable unto our being.^ I have scene the birth of 
livers miracles in my dayes. Although they be smoothered 
n the first grouth, wee omit not to foresee the course they 
k^ould have taken, had they lived their full age. The 
natter is to finde the end of the clue ; that found, one may 
vinde-off what he list : And there is a further distance from 

28o Montaigne's Essayes 

nothing to the least thing in the IVorld, than hetweene 
that and the greatest. Now the first that are embrued 
with the beginning- of strang-enesse, comming- to publish 
their history, finde by the oppositions made against themJ 
where the difficulty of perswasion lodg-eth ; and goe abouq 
with some false patch, to botch up those places. Besides' 
that, Insita hominibus libidine alendi de industria rumores : 
Men having a naturall desire to nourish reports. We 
naturally make it a matter of conscience, to restore what 
hath been lent us, without some usury and accession of 
our encrease. A particular errour doth first hreede a pub- 
like errour: And when his turne commeth, A publike errour 
begetteth a particidar errour. So goeth all this vast frame, 
from hand to hand, confounding- and composing it selfe, 
in such sort that the furthest-abiding testimonie, is better 
instructed of it, then the nearest : and the last informed, 
better perswaded then the first. It is naturall progresse : 
For, whosoever beleeveth any thing, thinkes it a deede of 
charity, to perswade it unto another : Which, that he may 
the better effect, he feareth not to adde something of his 
owne invention thereunto, so far as hee seeth necessary 
in his discourse, to supply the resistance and defect, he 
imagineth to bee in anothers conception. Qviy selfe who 
make an especiall matter of conscience to lie, and care 
not greatly to add credit or authority to what I say, per- 
ceive nevertheles, by the discourses I have in hand, that 
being earnested, either by the resistance of another, or by 
the earnestnesse of my naration ; I swell and amplifie my 
subject by my voice, motions, vigor and force of wordes : 
as also by extension and amplification, not without some 
prejudice to the naked truth. But yet I doe it upon con- 
dition, that to the first that brings mee home againe, and 
enquireth for the bare and simple truth at my hands : I 
sodainly give over my hold, and without exaggeration, 
emphasis or amplification, I yeeld both my selfe and it 
unto him : A lively, earnest and ready speech as mine, is 
easie transported unto hyperboles. There is nothing 
whereunto men are ordinarily more prone, then to give way i 
to their opinions. Where ever usuall meanes faile us, we i 
adde commandement, force, fire and sword. It is not ! 
without some ill fortune to come to that passe, that the . 
multitude of believers, in a thronof where fooles doe in ; 

The Third Booke Chap. XI 281 

number so far exceede the wise, should bee the best touch- 
stone of truth. Quasi vero quidquam sit tarn valde, quani 
nil sapere vulgare. Sanitatis patrociniiim est insanientiiim 
turha (Cic. De Divin. ii.). As though any tJiing were so 
\common as to have no wit. The multitude of them that 
are mad, is a defence for them that are in their wits. £ It 
is a hard matter for a man to resolve his judg^ement agamSI: 
common opinions. The first perswasion taken from the 
very subject, seizeth on the simple : whence under th' 
authority of the number and antiquity of testimonies, it 
extends it selfe on the wiser sort. As for me, in a matter, 
which I could not believe being reported by one, I should 
never credit the same, though affirmed by a hundred. 
And I judge not opinions, by yeares. \J^t is not long since 
one of our Princes, in whom the gowt had spoiled a gentle 
disposition and blith composition, suffered himselfe so far 
to bee perswaded or mis-led, by the report made unto him 
of the wondrous deedes of a Priest, who by way of charmes, 
spells and gestures cured all diseases, that he undertooke 
a long-tedious journy to finde him out : and by the vertue 
of his apprehension did so perswade, and for certaine 
houres so lull his legs asleepe, that for a while hee brought 
them to doe him that service, which for a long time they 
had forgotten. Had fortune heaped five or six like acci- 
dents one in the necke of another, they had doubtles beene 
able to bring this miracle into nature. Whereas afterward 
there was so much simplicity and so little skill found in 
the architect of these works, that he was deemed unworthy 
of any punishment : As likewise should be done with most 
such-like things, were they throughly knowen in their 
nature. Miramur ex intervallo fallentia : Wee wonder at 
those things that deceive us by distance. Our sight doth 
in such sort, often represent us a farre-off with strange 
images, which vanish in approaching neerer. Nunquam 
ad liquidum fama perducitur. Fame is never brought to 
be cleare. lit is a wonder, to see how from many vaine 
beginnings and frivolous causes, so famous impressions 
doe ordinarily arise and ensue. Even that hindereth the 
information of them : For, while a man endevoureth to 
finde out causes, forcible and weighty ends, and worthy 
so great a name, hee loseth the true and essentiall. They 
are so little, that they escape our sight. And verily a 
III +42 ■ K 

282 Montaigne's Essayes 

right wise, heedy and subtile inquisitor is required in such; 
questing-s : impartiall and not preoccupated. All these! 
miracles and strange events, are untill this day hidden, 
from me : I have scene no such monster, or more expresse 
wonder in this world, then my selfe. With time and 
custome a man doth acqimint and enure himselfe to all 
srangenesse : But the more I frequent and know my selfe 
the more my deforrnitie astonieth me : and the lesse I 
understand my selfe. LJhe chiefest priviledge to produce 
and advance such accidents, is reserved unto fortune. 
Travelling yesterday through a village, within two leagues 
of my house, I found the place yet warme of a miracle 
that was but newly failed and discovered, wherewith all 
the country thereabout had for many months beene am- 
mused and abused, and divers bordering Provinces began 
to listen unto it, and severall troupes of all qualities ceased 
not thicke and threefold to flocke thither. A yong man 
of that towne, undertooke one night in his owne house 
(never dreaming of any knavery) to counterfeit the voice 
of a spirit or ghost, but onely for sport, to make himselfe 
merry for that present, which succeeding better then he 
had imagined ; to make the jest extend further, and him- 
selfe the merrier, he made a country-maiden acquainted 
with his devise : who because she was both seely and 
harmelesse, consented to bee secret and to second him : 
In the end they got another, and were now three, all of 
one age and like sufficiency : and from private spirit-talk- 
ing, they beganne with hideous voices to cry and roare 
aloud, and in, and about churches hiding themselves under 
the chiefe x\ltar, speaking but by night, forbidding any 
light to be set up : From speeches tending the worlds sub- 
version, and threatning of the day of judgement (which are 
the subjects, by whose authority and abusive reverence, 
imposture and illusion, is more easily lurked) they pro- 
ceeded to certaine visions and strange gestures, so foolish 
and ridiculous, that there is scarce any thing more grosse 
and absurd used among Children, in their childish sports. 
Suppose I pray you, that fortune would have seconded this 
harmelesse devise or jugling tricke ; Who knoweth how 
farre it would have extended, and to what it would have 
growen? The poore seely three Divels are now in prison, 
and may happily e're long pay deere for their common 

The Third Booke Chap. XI 283 

sottishnesse, and I wot not whether some cheverell judge 
or other, will be avenged of them for his. It is manifestly 
seene in this, which now is discovered, as also in divers 
other things of like quahty, exceeding our knowledge; I 
am of opinion that we uphold our judgement, as wel to 
reject, as to receive. \ M any abuses are engendered into 
the World ; or to speake more boldly, all the abuses of the 
World are engendered upon this, that wee are taught to 
feare to make profession of our ignorance, and are bound 
to accept and allow, all that wee cannot refute. Wee 
speake of all things by precepts and resolution. The Stile 
of Rome did beare, that even the same, that a witnes de- 
posed, because he had seen it with his own eyes, and that 
which a Judge ordained of his most assured knowledge, 
was conceived in this form of speech. It seemeth so unto 
me. I am drawen to hate likely things, when men goe 
about to set them downe as infallible. I love these words 
or phrases, which moUifie and moderate the temerity of 
our propositions: It may be: Peradventure : In some sort: 
Some: It is saide : I thinke, and such like: And had I 
beene to instruct children, I would so often have put this 
matter of answering in their mouth ; enquiring, and not 
resolving : What nieanes it? I understand, it not: It may 
well hee : Is it true ? that they should rather have kept the 
forme of learners, untill three score yeeres of age, than 
present themselves Doctors at ten, as many doe. Whoso- 
ever ninlJ be cured of ignorance, must confesse the same. 
Iris is the daughter of Thaumantis, Admiration is the 
ground of all Philosophy : Inquisition the progresse : 
Ignorance the end. Yea but there is some kinde of ignor- 
ance strong and generous, that for honor and courage is 
nothing beholding to knowledge : An ignorance, which to 
conceive rightly, there is required no lesse learning, than 
to.ponceive true learning. 

illBeing yong, I saw a law-case, which Corras a Counsel- 
lorof Thoulouse caused to be printed of a strange accident 
of two men, who presented themselves one for another. 
I remember (and I remember nothing else so well) that me 
thought, he proved his imposture, whom he condemned 
as guilty, so wondrous strange and so far-exceeding both 
our knowledge and his owne, who was judge, that I found 
much boldnes in the sentence which had condemned him 

284 Montaigne's Essayes 

to be hanged. Let us receive some forme of sentence) 
that may say : The Court understands nothing of it; more 
freely and ingenuously, than did the Areopagites ; who 
finding- themselves urged and entangled in a case they 
could not well cleare or determine, appointed the parties 
to come againe and appeare before them a hundred yeares 
after. \JLhe witches about my country, are in hazard af 
their life, upon the opinion of every new authour, that 
may come to give their dreames a body. To apply such 
examples as the holy Word of God offreth us of such 
things (assured and irrefragable examples) and joyne them 
to our moderne events, since we neyther see the causes 
nor meanes of them, some other better wit then ours is 
thereunto required. Peradventure it appertaineth to that 
onely most-mighty testimony, to tell us : This here, and 
that there ; and not this other are of them. God must be 
beleeved ; and good reason he should be so. ' Yet is there 
not one amongst us, that will be amazed at his owne 
narration (and he ought necessarily to be astonished at 
It, if he be not out of his wits) whether he employ it about 
others matters ; or against himselfe. |l am plaine and 
homely, and take hold on the maine pSffit, and on that 
which is most likely ; avoiding ancient reproches. Ma- 
jorem fidem homines adhihent iis quce non intelligunt. 
Cupidine humani ingenii libentius ohscura creduntur. 
Men give more credit to things they understand not: Things 
obscure are more willingly heleeved through a strange 
desire of mans wit. I see that men will be angry : and am 
forbid to doubt of it upon paine of execrable injuries. A 
new manner of perswading. Mercy for Gods sake. My 
beliefe is not carried away with blowes. Let them tyran- 
nize over such as accuse their opinion of falsehood ; I 
onely accuse mine of difficulty and boldnesse. And equally 
to them I condemne the opposite affirmation : if not so 
imperiously. He that with bravery and by commande- 
ment will establish his discourse, declareth his reason to 
bee weake : For a verball and scholasticall altercation, that 
they have as much apparance as their contradictors. Vide- 
antur sane, non affirmentur modo. Indeede let them.' 
seeme, so they bee not avouched. But in [the] effectuall 
consequence they draw from it, these have great ods. 
To kill men; there is required a bright-shining and cleare 

The Third Booke Chap. XI 285 

light. And our life is over-reall and essentiall, to warrant 
these supernaturall and fantasticall accidents. As for 
drugges and poisons, they are out of my element : they 
are homicides, and of the worst kinde. In which never- 
thelesse, it is said, that one must not alwayes rely upon 
the meere confession of those people : For, they have some- 
times beene scene to accuse themselves, to have made away 
men which were both sound and living, ^n these other 
extravagant accusations, I should easily say aiat it sufficeth 
what commendations soever he hath, a man be believed 
in such things as are humane : but of such as are beyond 
his conception and of a supernaturall effect, he ought then 
only be believed when a supernatural approbation hath 
authorized him. That priviledge it hath pleased God to 
gfive some of our testimonies, ought not to bee vilified, or 
slightly communicated. Mine eares are full of a thousand 
such tales. Three saw him such a day in the East; three 
saw him the next day in the west, at such an houre, in 
such a place, and thus and thus attired, verily in such a 
case I could not beleeve my selfe. How much more 
naturall and more likely doe I finde it, that two men should 
lie, then one in twelve houres, passe with the windes, from 
East to West? How much more naturall, that our under- 
standing may by the volubility of our loose-capring minde 
be transported from his place? then that one of us should 
by a strange spirit, in flesh and bone, be carried upon a 
broome through the tunnell of a chimny? Let us, who are 
perpetually tossed too and fro with domesticall and our 
owne illusions, not seeke for forraine and unknowen illu- 
sions. I deeme it a matter pardonable, not to beleeve a 
wonder, so far foorth at least as one may divert and [ex- 
[clude] the verification by no miraculous way. And I follow 
Saint Augustines opinion, that a man ivere better bend 
towards doubt, than encUne towards certaintie, in matters 
\of difficult triall and dangerous beliefe. iSome yeares are 
now past, that I travelled through the country of a 
soveraigne Prince : who in favour of mee, and to abate 
my incredulity, did mee the grace, in his owne presence, 
and in a particular place, to make mee see tenne or twelve 
prisoners of that kinde ; and amongst others an olde beldam 
witch, a true and perfect sorceresse, both by her ugliness 
and deformity; and such a one as long before was most 

286 Montaigne's Essayes i 

tamous In that profession. I sawe both proofes, witnesses, 
voluntary confessions, and some other insensible markes 
about this miserable olde woman ; I enquired and talked 
with her a long time, with the greatest heed and attention 
I could, yet am I not easily carried away by preoccupa- 
tion. In the end, and in my conscience, I should rather 
have appointed them Helleborum, than Hemlocke. Cap-\ 
tisque res magis mentibus , quani consceleratis similis visa. 
The matter seemed liker to mimies captivate than guiltie. 
Law hath her owne corrections for such diseases. tTTouch- 
ing- the oppositions and arguments, that honest men have 
made unto mee, both there, and often elsewhere, I have 
found none that tie mee ; and that admit not alwaies a more 
likely solution, than their conclusion. True it is, that 
proofes and reasons grounded upon the fact and experi-i 
ence, I untie not : for indeede they have no end ; but often 
cut them, as Alexander did his knot. When al is done, itj 
is an overvaluing of ones conjectures, by them to cause aj 
man to be burned alive. It is reported by divers examples 
(and Prestantius saith of his father) that being in a slumber 
much more deeply, then in a full-sound sleepe, he dreamed 
and verily thought himselfe to be a Mare, and served 
certaine souldiers for a sumpter-horse, and was indeede 
what he imagined to bee. If sorcerers dreame thus 
materially : If dreames ma,y sometimes be thus incorporated 
into effects : I cannot possibly believe, that our will should 
therefore be bound to the lawes and justice \which I say, 
as one who am neither a Judge, nor a Counsellor unto 
kings, and furthest from any such worthinesse : but rather 
a man of the common stamp, and both by my deedes and 
sayings, borne and vowed to the obedience of publique 
reason. Hee that should register my humours, to the 
prejudice of the simplest law, or opinion, or custome of 
this village, should greatly wrong himselfe, and injure me 
as much. For in what I say, I gape for no other cer- 
tainty, but that such vvas then my thought. A tumultu- 
ous and wavering thought. It is by way of discourse that 
I speake of all ; and of nothing by way of advise. Nee 
me pudet, ut istos, fateri nescire, quod nesciam. Nor am 
I ashamed, as they are to confess e I know not that which 
I doe not know. 

I would not be so hardy to speake, if of duty I ought 

The Third Bcoke Chap. XI 287 

to bee believed : and so I answered a great man, who 
blamed the sharpnesse and contention of my exhortations. 
When I see you bent and prepared on one side ; with all 
the endevour I can, I will prqpose the contrary unto you, 
to resolve and enlighten your judgement, not to subdue or 
binde the same : God hath your hearts in his hands, and 
hee will furnish you with choise. I am not so malapert, 
as to desire, that my opinions alone, should give sway to 
a matter of such importance. My fortune hath not raised 
them to so powerfull and deepe conclusions. Truely, I 
have not onely a great number of complexions, but an 
infinite many of opinions, from which, had I a sonne of 
mine owne, I would disswade him, and willingly make him 
to distaste them. What? If the truest are not ever the 
most commodious for man, he being of so strange and 
untamed a composition : W^hether it be to the purpose, or 
from the purpose, it is no great matter, lit is a common 
Proverbe in Italie, that He knowes not the perfect pleasure 
of Venus, that hath not laine with a limping Woman. 
Either fortune, or some particular accident have long since 
brought this by-saying in the peoples mouth : and it is as 
well spoken of men as of women : For the Queene of the 
Amazons answered the Scithian, that wooed her to loves- 
embracements. apixrra x'^Xo<; olfpet, The crooked man 
doth it best. In that feminine common-wealth of theirs, 
to avoyde the domination of men, they were wont in their 
infancy to maime them, both their armes and legges and 
other limmes, that might any way advantage their strength 
over them, and make onely that use of them, that we in 
our World make of our Women. I would have saide, that 
the loose or disjoynted motion of a limping or crooke- 
backt W^oman, might adde some new kinde of pleasure 
unto that businesse or sweet sinne, and some un-assaid 
sensuall sweetnesse, to such as make triall of it : but I have 
lately learnt, that even ancient Philosophy hath decided 
the matter : Who saith, that the legs and thighs of the 
croolvcd-backt or halting-lame, by reason of their imper- 
fection, not receiving the nourishment, due unto them, it 
followeth that the Genitall parts, that are above them, are 
more full, better nourished and more vigorous. Or else, 
that such a defect hindring other exercise, such as are 
therewith possessed, do lesse waste their strength and con- 

288 Montaigne's Essayes 

SLime their vertue, and so much the stronger and fuller, 
they come to Venus sports. Which is also the reason 
why the Graecians described their Women-Weavers, to beej 
more hotte and earnestly-luxurious, than other Women : 
Because of their sitting-trade, without any violent exercise 
of the body. What cannot we dispute of according to that 
rate? I might likewise say of these, that the same stir- 
ring, which their labour, so sitting doth give them, doth 
rouze and sollicite them, as the jogging and shaking of 
their Coache, doth our Ladies. \Doe not these examples 
fit that whereof I spake in the rreginning ? That our 
reasons doe often anticipate the effect, and have the ex- 
tension of their jurisdiction so infinite, that they judge 
and exercise themselves in inanity, and to a not being? 
Besides the flexibilitie of our invention, to frame reasons 
unto all manner of dreames ; our imagination is likewise 
found easie to receive impressions from falsehood, by very 
frivolous apparances. For, by the onely authoritie of the 
antient and publike use of this word or phrase, I have 
heretofore perswaded my selfe, to have received more 
pleasure of a Woman, in that she was not straight, and 
have accompted hir crookednesse in the number of hir 
graces. \rg/quato Tasso, in the comparison he makes be- 
tweene Italy and France, reporteth to have noted, that we 
commonly have more slender and spiny legges, than the 
Italian Gentlemen ; and imputeth the cause unto our con- 
tinuall riding and sitting on horse-backe. Which is the 
very same, from which Suetonius draweth another cleane 
contrary conclusion : For, he saith, that Germanicus had 
by the frequent use of this exercise, brought his to be very 
big. There is nothing so supple and wandering, as our 
understanding. It is like to Theramenez shooe, fit for all! 
feet. It is double and diverse, and so are matters diverse 
and double. Give me a Dragme of Silver, said a Cinicke 
Philosopher unto Antigonus : It is not the present of a 
King, answered he ; Give then a talent : It is no gift for a 
Cinicke, quoth he : 

Seu plures calor ille vias, et cceca relaxat 

Spiramenta, novas veniat qua succns in herhas: 1 

Seu durat magis, et venas astringit hiantes, 

Ne tcnues pluvice, rapidive potentia solis 

Acrior, ant Borece penetrabile frigtis adurat. 

ViRG. Georg. i. 89. 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 289 

Whether the heate layes open holes unseene, 

Whereby the sappe may passe to hearbs fresh-greene : 

Or rather hardens and bindes gaping vaines, 

Lest sharpe power of hot sunne, or thinning raines : 

Of piercing North-ccld blaste, 

Should scortch, consume and waste. 

Ogni medagalia ha il suo riverscio ;\E3ch outside hath his 
inside, saith the Italian. Lo why Clitomachus was wont to 
say, that Carneades had surmounted the labours of Her- 
cules ; because he had exacted consent from men; that is 
to say, opinion and temerity to judge. This fantasie of 
Carneades, so vigorous (as I imagine) proceeded antiently, 
from the impudency of those, who make profession to 
know, and from their excessive selfe-overweening. /Esope 
was set to sale, together with two other slaves ; a Chapman 
enquired of the first, what he could doe : he to endeare 
himselfe, answered, mountaine and wonders, and what 
not? For he knew and could doe all things. The second 
answered even so for himselfe, and more too : But when 
he came to .Esope, and demaunded of him what he could 
doe. Nothing (said he) for these two have forestaled all, 
and know and can doe all things, and have left nothing 
for mee. So hath it happened in the schoole of philosophy. 
The rashnes of those who ascribed the capacity of all 
things to mans wit, through spight and emulation pro- 
duced this opinion in others, that humane wit was not 
capable of any thing. Some holde the same extremity in 
ignorance, that others hold in knowledge. To the end 
none may deny, that man is not immoderate in all and 
every where : and hath no other sentence or arrest, than 
that of necessity, and impuissance to proceede further. 



Almost all the opinions we have, are taken by authority, 
land upon credit : There is no hurt. We cannot chuse worse 
then by our selves, in so weake an age. This image of 
Socrates his discourse, which his friends have left us, we 
onely approve it, by the reverence of publicke approbation. 
It is not of our owne knowledge ; they are not according 

290 Montaigne's Essayes I 

to our use. Might such a man be borne now adayes, there 
are but few would now esteeme him. Wee discerne not 
graces inly or aright ; We onely perceive them by a false 
light set out and puft up with arte : Such as passe under 
their naturall purity and simplicity, doe easily escape so 
weake and dimme a sight as ours is. They have a secret, 
unperceived and delicate beauty : he had neede of a cleere, 
farre-seeing and true-discerning sight, that should rightly 
discover this secret light. Is not ingenuity (according to 
us) cosin germaine unto sottishnesse, and a quality of 
reproach? Socrates maketh his soule to moove, with a 
naturall and common motion. Thus saith a plaine Country- 
man, and thus a seely W^oman : Hee never hath other 
people in his mouth, than Coach-makers, Joyners, Coblers, 
and Masons. They are inductions and similitudes, drawen 
from the most vulgar and knowen actions of men : every 
one understands him. Under so base a forme, wee should 
never have chosen the noble worthinesse and brightnesse of 
his admirable conceptions : Wee that esteeme all those but 
meane and vile, that learning doth not raise : and who have 
no perceiving of riches, except set out in shew and pompe. 
Our World is framed but unto ostentation. Men are puffed 
up with winde, and moved or handled by bounds, as 
Baloones. This man proposeth no vaine fantasies unto him- 
selfe. His end was, to store us with things and furnish 
us with precepts, which really more substantially and 
joyntly serve our life : 

— servare moduin, flnemque tencre, 
Natiirdmque sequi. — Lucan. Bel. Civ. ii. 380. 
To keepe a meane, to hold the end, 
And natures conduct to attend. 

So was he ever all one a like : And raised himselfe to the 
highest pitch of vigor, not by fits, but by complexion. Or 
to say better; he raised nothing, but rather brought downe 
and reduced all difficulties, or sharpnesse to their originall 
and naturall state, and thereunto subdued vigor. For, in 
Cato, it is manifestly scene, to be an out-right proceeding, 
far-above and beyond the common : By the brave exploits 
of his life, and in his death, hee is ever |Derceived to be 
mounted upon his great horses. Whereas 'this man keepes 
on the ground, and with a gentle and ordinary pace, 
treateth of the most profitable discourses, and addresseth 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 291 

himselfe both unto death and to the most thorny and 
crabbed crosses, that may happen unto the course of humane 
life. It hath indeede fortuned ; that the worthiest man to 
be knowne, and for a patterne to be presented to the world, 
he is the man of whom we have most certain Ivnowledge. 
Hee hath beene declared and enlightned by the most cleare- 
seeing men, that ever were; the testimonies wee have of 
him, are in faithfulnesse and sufficiency most admirable. 
It is a great matter, that ever he was able to give such 
order unto the pure imaginations of a childe, that without 
altring or wresting them, he hath thence produced the 
fairest effects of our minde. He neither represents it rich 
nor high-raised : but sound and pure : and ever with a 
blithe and undefiled health. By these vulgar springs and 
naturall wards : by these ordinary and common fantasies, 
sans mooving- or without urging himselfe, hee erected not 
onely the most regular, but the highest and most vigorous 
opinions, actions and customes, that ever were. He it is, 
that brought humane wisedome from heaven againe, where 
for a long time it had beene lost, to restore it unto man : 
where her most just and laborious worke is. See or heare 
him pleade before his judges ; marke with what reasons 
he rouzeth his courage to the hazards of warre, what argu- 
ments fortifie his patience against detraction, calumniation, 
tyrranny, death, and against his wives peevish head : 
therein is nothing borrowed from art, or from learning. 
The simplest may there know their meanes and might : it 
is impossible to goe further backe or lower. He hath done 
humane nature a great kindnesse, to shew what and how 
much she can doe of her selfe. We are every one richer 
then we imagine, but we are taught to borrow, and in- 
structed to shift ; and rather to make use of others goods 
and meanes, then of our owne. There is nothing whereon 
man can stay or fix himselfe in time of his need. Of 
voluptuousnesse, of riches, of pleasure, of power, he ever 
embraceth more then he can graspe or hold. His greedi- 
nesse is incapable of moderation. The very same I finde 
to be in the curiosity of learning and knowledge : he cuts 
out more worke then he can well make an end of : and 
much more then he neede. Extending the profit of learn- 
ing, as farre as his matter. Ut omnium rerum, sic literarum 
qiioque intemperantia lahorarmis (Sen. Epist. cvi. f.). We 

292 Montaigne's Essayes 

are sicke of a surfet, as of all things^ so of learning also. 
And Tacitus hath reason to commend Agricolaes mother, to 
have brideled in her sonne an over-burning and earnest 
desire of learning. It is a good, being neerely looked unto, 
that containeth as other humane goods, much peculiar 
vanity and naturall weakenesse : and is very chargeable. 
The acquisition and purchase whereof is much more 
hazardous, then of all other viands and beverage. For, 
whatsoever else we have bought ; we carry home in some 
vessell or other, where we have law to examine it's worth : 
how much, and at what time we are to take-it. But 
Sciences, we cannot sodainly put them into any other 
vessell, then our minde : wee swallov.- them in buying them, 
and goe from the market, either already infected or 
amended. There are some, which insteade of nourishing, 
doe but hinder and surcharge us ; and other some, which 
under colour of curing, empoison us. I have taken pleasure 
in some place, to see men, who for devotions sake have 
made a vow of ignorance, as of chastity, poverty and peni- 
tence. It is also a kind of guelding of our inordinate 
appetites, to muzzle this greedinesse, which provoketh us 
to the study of bookes, and depriveth the mind of that 
voluptuous delight, which by the opinion of learning doth 
so tickle us. And it is richly to accomplish the vow of 
poverty, to joyne that of the minde unto it. We neede not 
viuch learning for to live at ease. And Socrates teacheth 
us, that we have both it, and the way to finde and make use 
of it, within us. All our sufficiency, that is beyond the 
naturall, is well nigh vaine and superfluous. It is much, if 
it charge and trouble us no more, then it steads us. Paucis 
opus est Uteris ad mentem honam (Sen. Ihid.). We have 
neede of little learning to have a good ininde. They are 
febricitant excesses of our spirit : a turbulent and unquiet 
instrument. Rowze up your selfe, and you shall finde 
forcible arguments against death to be in your selfe ; most 
true and very proper to serve and steade you in time of | 
necessity. T'is they which induce a peasant swaine, yea 1 
and whole nations to die as constantly as any Philosopher. 
Should I have died lesse merily before I read the Tuscu- 
lanes? I thinke not. And when I finde my selfe in my 
best wits, I perceive, that I have somewhat enriched my j 
tongue ; my courage but little. It is even as nature framed 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 293 

the same at first. And against any conflict, it shields it 
selfe, but with a natural! and common march. Bookes have 
not so much served mee for instruction, as exercitation. 
What if learning, assaying to arme us with new wards and 
fences, against naturall inconveniences, hath more imprinted 
their geatnesse and weight in our fantasie, then her 
reasons, quiddities and subtilities, therewith to cover us? 
They are subtilities indeed ; by which she often awaketh us 
very vainely. Observe how many sleight and idle argu- 
ments the wisest and closest authors frame and scatter 
about one good sound : which if you consider neerely, are 
but vaine and incorporall. They are but verball wiles, 
which beguile us. But forsomuch as it may be profitable : 
I will not otherwise blanch them. Many of that condition 
are scattered here and there, in divers places of this volume ; 
either borrowed or imitated. Yet should a man somewhat 
heed, he call not that force, which is but quaintnes : or 
terme that which is but quipping sharpe, solide ; or name 
that good, which is but faire : qucB magis gustata quam 
potata delectant (Cic. Tusc. Qu. v.), which more delight us 
being hut tasted, then swild and swallowed downe. All that 
which pleaseth feedeth not ; ubi non ingenii sed animi 
negocinin agitur. Where it is no matter of wity hut of 
courage. To see the strugling endevors which Seneca 
giveth himselfe, to prepare himselfe against death ; to see 
him sweate with panting ; to see him bathe so long upon 
this pearch, thereby to strengthen and assure himselfe : I 
should have made question of his reputation, had he not 
most undantedly maintained the same in his death. His so 
violent and frequent agitation, sheweth that himselfe was 
fervent and impetuous. Magnus anilnus remissius loquitur, 
et securius : Non est alius ingenio, alius animo color (Sen. 
Epist. cxv. El. i.). A great courage speakes softly hut 
securely. Wit hath not one colour and courage another. 
He must be convicted at his owne charges. And sheweth 
in some sort, that he was pressed by his adversary. Plu- 
tarkes maner by how much more disdainefull and farre- 
extending it is (in my opinion) so much more manlike and 
perswasive is it : I should easily beleeve, that his soule had 
her motions more assured and more regular. The one more 
sharpe, pricketh and sodainely starts us: toucheth i, the 
spirit more. The other more solide, doth constantly 

294 Montaigne's Essayes 

enforme, establish and comfort us : toucheth more the 
understanding. That ravisheth our judgement : this doth 
gaine it. I have Hkewise seene other compositions and 
more reverenced, which in purtraying the combate, they 
endure against the provocations of the flesh, represent them 
so violent, so powerfull and invincible, that our selves, 
who are cast in the common mould of other men, have as 
much to admire the unknowne strangenesse and unfelt 
vigor of their temptation, as their constant resistance. To 
what purpose do we so arme and Steele our selves with 
these labouring-efforts of learning? Let us diligently sur- 
vay the surface of the earth, and there consider so many 
seely-poore people as we see toyling, sweltring and droop- 
ing about their businesse, which never heard of Aristotle^ 
nor of Plato y nor ever knew what exemples or precepts are. 
From those doth nature dayly draw and affoord us effects 
of constancy and patternes of patience, more pure and 
forcible, then are those, we so curiously study-for in 
schooles. How many do I ordinarily see, that misacknow- 
ledge poverty ; how many that wish for death, or that passe 
it without any alaram or affliction ? A fellow that dungeth 
my garden, hath happily this morning buried his father or 
his childe. The very names whereby they call diseases, doe 
somewhat mylden and diminish the sharpnes of them. With 
them a Phthysiqiie or consumption of the lungs, is but an 
ordinary cough : A dysentery or bloody flix, but a distemper 
of the stomacke : A pleurisie but a cold or murre : and as 
they gently name them, so they easily endure them. Griev- 
ous are they indeed, when they hinder their ordinary labour 
or break their usuall rest : They will not take their beds 
but when they shall dy. Simplex ilia et aperta virtus in 
obscuram et solertem scientiam versa est. That plaine and 
clears vertiie is turried into obscure and cunning knoivledge. 
I was writing this about a time that a boistrous storme of 
our tumultuous broiles and bloody troubles, did for many 
months space, with all it's might and horrour, hang full 
over my head. On the one side, I had the enemies at my 
gates; on the other, the Picoreurs or free-booters, farre 
worse foes. N^on armis sed vitiis certatur. We contend 
not with armour, but with vices. And at one time felt 
and endured all manner of harme-bringing military 
injuries : 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 295 

Hostis adest dextra la^vdque a parte tiniendus, 
Vicinoque malo terret utrumque latus. 

Ovid. Pout. i. El. iv. 55. 

A fearefull foe on left hand and on right, 

Doth with his neighbour harmes both sides afright. 

Oh monstrous Warre : Others worke without ; this in- 
wardly and against hir selfe : And with her owne venome 
gnaweth and consumes her selfe. It is of so ruinous and 
maligne a Nature ; that together with all things els, she 
ruineth her selfe : and with spitefuU rage, doth rent, deface 
and massacre it selfe. We doe more often see it, by and 
through hir selfe, to wast, to desolate and dissolve hir selfe, 
then by or through \vant of any necessary thing, or by 
enemies force. All manner of discipline doth shunne and 
flie it. She commeth to cure sedition, and hir selfe is 
throughly therewith infected : She goeth about to chastize 
disobedience, and sheweth the example of it : and being 
employed for the defence of Lawes, entreth into actuall 
rebellion against her owne ordinances. Aye me, where are 
we? Our Phisicke bringeth infection. 

Nostre trial s'empoisonne 
Dii secours qu'on liiy donne. 

Our evill is empoysond more 

By plaister they would lay to th' sore. 

— exuperat magis cegrcscitqtie niedendo. 

ViRG. /En. xii. 46. 
It rises higher, quicker, 
And growes by curing sicker, 

Omnia fanda nefanda tnalo perniista furore, 
Justificain nobis mentem avertere Deoruni. 

Catul. Argon, v. 405. 

Lawfull unlawfull deeds with fury blended. 

Have turn'd from us the Gods just minde offended. 

In these popular diseases, one may in the beginning dis- 
tinguish the sound from the sicke : but if they chance to 
continue any time, as ours hath done and doth still, all the 
body, yea head and heeles feele themselves the worse : no 
part is exempted from corruption. For, there is no aire a 
man drawes so greedily, or sucks so gluttonously ; and that 
more spreds it selfe, or penetrates more deepely, then doth 
licentiousnesse. Our Armies have no other bond to tie 
them, or other cyment to fasten them, then what commeth 
from strangers : It is now a hard matter to frame a body 

296 Montaigne's Essayes 

of a compleate, constant, well-ordered and coherent Army 
of Frenchmen : Oh what shame is it? We have no other 
discipline, then what borrowed or auxiliar Souldiers shew 
us. As for us, we are led-on by our owne discretion and 
not by the commanders ; each man followeth his owne 
humour : and hath more to doe within, then without. It is 
the commandement should follow, court and yeeld unto : 
hee onely ought to obey : all the rest is free and loose. I 
am pleased to see, what remisnesse and pusilanimity is in 
ambition, and by what steps of abjection and servitude, it 
must arrive unto it's end. But I am displeased to see some 
debonaire and well-meaning minds, yea such as are capable 
of justice, dayly corrupted, about the managing and com- 
manding of this many-headed confusion. Long sufferance 
begets custome ; custome, consent and imitation. We had 
too-too many infected and ill-borne minds, without corrupt- 
ing the good, the sound and the generous. So that, if we 
continue any time, it will prove a difficult matter to finde 
out a man unto whose skill and sufficiency, the health or 
recovery of this state may be committed in trust, if fortune 
shall happily be pleased to restore it us againe. 

Hiinc saltern everso juvenem succurrere seclo, 
Ne prohibete. 

Forbid not yet this youth at least, 
To aide this age more then opprest. 

What is become of that ancient precept ; That Souldiers 
ought more to feare their Generall than their enemy? And 
of that wonderfull examplelesse example : That the Romane 
army having upon occasion enclosed within her trenches, 
and round-beset an apple-orchard ; so obedient was she to 
her Captaines, that the next morning, it rose and marched 
away without entring the same or touching one apple, 
although they were full-ripe and very delicious : So that 
when the owner came, he found the full number of his 
apples? I should be glad, that our Youths, in steade of 
the time they employ alDout lesse profitable peregrinations, 
and lesse honourable apprentiships, would bestow one 
moity, in seeing and observing the warres that happen on 
the sea, under some good Captaine or excellent commander 
of Malta; the other moity in learning and surveying the 
discipline of the Turkish armies. For it hath many differ- 
ences and advantages over ours. This ensueth, that here 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 297 

our Souldiers become more licentious in expeditions, there 
they prove more circumspect and fearfully wary. For, 
small offences and petty larcenies, which in times of peace, 
are in the common people punished with whipping and 
bastonadoes, in times of warre are capitall crimes. For an 
tggG taken by a Turke without paying, he is by their law 
to have the full number of fifty stripes with a cudgell. For 
every other thing, how sleight soever, not necessary for 
mans feeding, even for very trifles, they are either thrust 
through with a sharpe stake, which they call Empaling, or 
presently beheaded. I have beene amazed, reading the story 
of Selim, the cruellest Conqueror that ever was, to see, at 
what time he subdued the Country of Mgypt, the beaute- 
ous gardens round about Damasco, all open and in a 
conquered country ; his maine army lying encamped round 
about, those gardens were left untouched and unspoyled by 
the hands of his Souldiers, onely because they were com- 
manded to spoyle nothing, and had not the watch-word of 
pillage. But, is there any malady in a Common-weale, that 
deserveth to be combated by so mortall drugge? No saide 
Favonius, not so much as the usurpation of the tyranicall 
possession of a Common-wealth. Plato likewise is not will- 
ing one should offer violence to the quiet repose of his 
Countrey, no not to reforme or cure the same ; and alfoweth 
not that reformation, which disturbeth or hazardeth the 
whole estate ; and which is purchased with the blood and 
ruine of the Citizens. Establishing the office of an honest 
man, in these causes, to leave all there : But onely to pray 
God, to lend his extraordinary assisting hand unto it. And 
seemeth to be offended with Dyon his great friend, to have 
therein proceeded somewhat otherwise. I was a Platonist 
on that side before ever I knew there had beene a Plato 
in the world. And if such a man ought absolutely be 
banished our commerce, and refused our society : (he who 
for the sincerity of his conscience, deserved by meane of 
divine favour, athwart the publique darknesse, and through 
the generall ignorance of the world wherein he lived, so 
farre to enter and so deepely to penetrate into christian 
light) I do not thinke, that it befitteth us, to be instructed 
by a Pagan. Oh what impiety is it, to expect from God no 
succour simply his, and without our cooperation. I often 
doubt, whether amongst so many men, that meddle with 

298 Montaigne's Essayes 

such a matter, any hath beene found of so weake an under- 
standing, that hath earnestly beene perswaded, he pro- 
ceeded toward reformation, by the utmost of deformations ; 
that he drew toward his salvation, by the most expresse 
causes, that we have of undoubted damnation : that over- 
throwing policy, disgracing magistrates, abusing lawes, 
under whose tuition God hath placed him ; filling brotherly 
minds and loving hearts, with malice, hatred and murther ; 
calling the Divels and furies to his helpe ; he may bring 
assistance to the most sacred mildnesse and justice of 
divine Law. Ambition, avarice, cruelty and revenge have 
not suflficient [proper] and naturally impetuousity ; let us 
allure and stirre them up by the glorious title of justice and 
devotion. There can no worse estate of things he imagined, 
than where wickednesse comnieth to be lawful!: And with 
the Magistrates leave, to take the cloake of vertue : Nihil 
in speciem fallaciiis, quam prava religio, uhi deoru?n numen 
prcetenditur scelerihus. There is nothing more deceiptftdl 
to shew, than corrupt religion, when the power of Heaven 
is made a pretence and cloake for wickednesse. The 
extreame kinde of injustice (according to Plato) is, that 
that which is unjust should be held for just. The common 
people suffered therein greatly then ; not onely present 

— undique, totis. 
Usque adeo turhatur agris. 

Such revell and tumultuous rout 
In all the countr}' round about. 

But also succeeding dammages. The living were faine to 
suffer, so did such as then were scarse borne. They were 
robbed and pilled, and by consequence so was I, even of 
hope : spoiling and depriving them of all they had to pro- 
vide their living for many yeares to come. 

Qua; neqtieunt secum ferre ant abduccrc, perdunt, 

Et cremat insontes ttirha scelesta casas : 
Muris nulla fides, squallent popularibus agri. 

They wretch-lesse spoyle and spill what draw or drive they may not, 
Guilty rogues to set fire on guilt-lesse houses stay not. 

In wals no trust, the field 

By spoyle growes waste and wilde. 

Besides these mischief es, I endured some others. I in- 
curred the inconveniences that moderation brinofeth in such 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 299 

diseases. I was shaven on all hands : To the GhibeHn I was 
a Guelf, to Guelf a Ghibelin. Some one of my Poets 
expresseth as much, but I wot not where it is. The situa- 
tion of my house, and the acquaintance of such as dwelt 
round about me, presented me with one visage ; my Hfe and 
actions with another. No formall accusations were made of 
it ; for there was nothing to take hold of. I never opposed 
my selfe against the lawes ; and who had called me in ques- 
tion, should have lost by the bargaine. They were mute 
suspicions, that ranne under hand, which never want appar- 
ance in so confused a hurly-burly, no more than lacke of 
envious or foolish wits. I commonly affoord ayde unto 
injurious presumption, that fortune scattereth against me; 
by a fashion I [ever] had, to avoid justifying, excusing or 
interpreting my selfe ; deeming it to be a putting of my 
conscience to compromise, to pleade for hir. Perspicuitas 
enim, argunientatione elevatur : For the cleering of a cause^ 
is lessened by the arguing. And as if every man saw into 
mee as cleare as I doe my selfe, in lieu of withdrawing, I 
advance my selfe to the accusation and rather endeare it, 
by an erronious and scoffing confession : except I flatly 
hold my peace, as of a thing unworthy any answer. But 
such as take it for an over-proud confidence, doe not much 
lesse disesteeme and hate me for it, than such as take it 
for weaknesse of an indefensible cause. Nam.ely the great, 
with whom want of submission, is the extreame fault. Rude 
to all justice, that is knowne or felt : not demisse, humble 
or suppliant. I have often stumbled against that piller. So 
it is, that by the harmes which befell mee, an ambitious 
man would have hanged himselfe ; and so would a covetous 
churle. I have no care at all to acquire or get. 

Sit mild quod nunc est, eiiam minus, ut mihi vivam 
Quod snperest cevi, si quid suferesse volent dii. 

HoR. i. Epist. xviii. 107. 

Let me have, that I have, or lesse, so I may live 
Unto my selfe the rest, if any rest God give. 

But losses that come unto me by others injury, be it 
larceny or violence, pinch me, in a manner as one sicke 
and tortured with avarice. An offence causeth undoubtedly 
more grief e and sharpnesse, than a losse. A thousand 
severall kindes of mischiefes fell upon me one in the necke 
of another ; I should more stoutly have endured them, had 

300 Montaigne's Essayes 

they come all at once. I bethoug-ht my seife, amongst my 
friends, to whom 1 might commit a needy, a defective and 
unfortunate olde age : But after t had surveyed them all, 
and cast mine eyes every where, I found my selfe bare and 
far to seeke. For one to sowse himselfe downe headlong, 
and from so great a height, he should heedily forecast that 
it may be in the armes of a solide, stedfast, vigorous and 
fortunate affection. They are rare, if there be any. In the 
end I perceived the best and safest way, was to trust both 
my selfe and my necessity, unto my selfe. And if it should 
happen to be but meanly and faintly in Fortunes grace, I 
might more effectually recommend my selfe unto mine owne 
favour, more closely fasten and more neerely looke unto my 
selfe. In all things men relie upon strange props, to spare 
their owne : onely certaine and onely powerfull, knew they 
but how to arme themselves with them. Every man runneth 
out and unto what is to come, because no man is yet come 
into himselfe. And I resolved, that they were profitable 
inconveniences : forsomuch as when reason will not serve, 
we must first warne untoward Scholars with the rod ; as 
with fire and violence of wedges, we bring a crooked peece 
of wood to be straight. It is long since I call, to keepe my 
selfe unto my selfe, and live sequestred from alien and 
strange things ; notwithstanding I daily start out and cast 
mine eyes aside. Inclination, a great mans favourable 
word, a kind looke doth tempt me. God he knowes whether 
there be penury of them nowadayes, and what sense they 
beare. I likewise, without frowning, listen to the suborn- 
ings, framed to draw mee to some towne of merchandise 
or city of trafficke ; and so coldly defend my selfe, that it 
seemes I should rather endure to be overcome, than not. 
Now to a spirit so indocile, blowes ar-e required : and this 
vessell, that of it selfe is so ready to warpe, to unhoope, 
to escape and fall in peeces, must be closed, hooped and 
strongly knockt with an adze. Secondly, that this accident 
served me as an exercitation to prepare my selfe for worse, 
if worse might happen : if I, who both by the benefit of 
fortune and condition of my maners, hoped to bee of the 
last, should b}^ this tempest be one of the first surprised. In- 
structing my selfe betimes, to force my life and frame it for 
a new state. True-perfect liberty, is, for one to be able to 
doe and work all things upon himselfe. Potentissimus est 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 301 

qui se habet in potestate (Sen. Ep. ix.). Hee is of most 
power ^ that keepes himself e in his owne power. In ordinary 
and peacefull times, a man prepares himselfe for common 
and moderate accidents : but in this confusion, wherein we 
have beene these thirty yeeres, every French man, be it in 
g-enerall or in particular, doth hourely see himselfe upon 
the point of his fortunes overthrow and downefall. By so 
much more ought each one have his courage stored, and his 
minde fraughted, with more strong and vigorous pro- 
visions : Let us thanke Fortune, that hath not made us live 
in an effeminate, idle and languishing age : Some, whom 
other meanes could never bring unto it, shall make them- 
selves famous by their misfortunes. As I reade not much 
in Histories, these confusions of other states, without 
regret, that I could not better them present ; So doth my 
curiosity make me somewhat please my selfe, with mine 
eyes to see this notable spectacle of our publike death : her 
symptomes and formes. And since I could not hinder the 
same, I am content to be appointed as an assistant unto it, 
and therby instruct my selfe. Yet seeke we evidently to 
know in shadowes, and understand by fabulous representa- 
tions upon Theaters, to shew of the tragicke revolutions of 
humane fortune. It is not without compassion of that we 
heare, but we please our selves to rowze up our displeasure, 
by the rarenesse of these pitifuU events. Nothing tickles^ 
that pincheth not. And good Historians avoid calme narra- 
tions, as a dead water or mort-mere; to retreeve seditions 
and finde out warres, whereto they know we cal them. I 
doubt whether I may lawfully avow, at how base a rate of 
my lifes rest and tranquillity, I have past it more than halfe 
in the ruine of my Country. In accidents that touch me not 
in my freehold, I purchase patience very cheape ; and to 
complaine to my selfe, I respect not so much what is taken 
from mee, as what is left me both within and without. 
There is comfort in sometimes eschewing one, and some- 
times another of the evills, that one in the necke of another 
surprise us, and elsewhere strike us round about. As 
matters of publike interests, according as my affection is 
more universally scattered, she is thereby more enfeebled. 
Since it is halfe true : Tantum ex puhlicis nialis sentimus^ 
quantum ad privatas res pertinet. Wee feele so much of 
common harmes as appertaine to our private estate. And 

302 Montaigne's Essayes 

that the health whence wee fell was such, that her selfe 
solaceth the regret we should have for her. It was health, 
mary but in comparison of the contagion, which hath 
followed the same. Wee are not falen very high. The cor- 
ruption and the brigandage, which now is in office and 
dignity, seemes to me the least tolerable. Wee are lesse 
injuriously robbed in the midst of a wood, then a place of 
security. It was an universall coherency of members 
spoiled avie one another ; and most of them, with old- 
rankled ulcers, which neither admitted nor demaunded 
recovery. Truely this shaking-fit did therefore more 
animate then deter re me, onely by the aide of my con- 
science, which not onely quietly, but fiercely carried it 
selfe ; and I found no cause to complaine of my self ; like- 
wise, as God never sends men either evils or goods abso- 
lutely pure, my health held out well for that time, yea 
against her ordinary : And as without it I can do nothing, 
so with it, there are few things I cannot doe. She gave me 
meanes to summon and rouze up all my provisions, and to 
beare my hand before my hurt, which happily would have 
gone further : And proved in my patience, that yet I had 
some hold against fortune, and that to thrust me out of my 
saddle, there was required a stronger counterbuffe. This I 
speake not, to provoke her to give me a more vigorous 
charge. I am her servant, and yeeld my selfe unto her : For 
Gods sake let her be pleased. Demaund you whether I feele 
her assaults? I doe indeede. As those whom sorrow 
possesseth and overwhelmeth, doe notwithstanding at one 
time or other suffer themselves by intermissions to be 
touched by some pleasure, and now and then smile. I have 
sufficient power over my selfe, to make mine ordinary state 
quiet and free from all tedious and irkesome imaginations; 
but yet I sometimes suffer my selfe by starts to be surprised 
with the pinchings of these unpleasant conceits, which 
whilst I arme my selfe to expell or wrestle against them, 
assaile and beate mee. Loe here another huddle or tide of 
mischiefe ; that on the necke of the former came rushing 
upon mee. Both within and round about my house, I was 
overtaken, in respect of all other, with a most contagious 
pestilence. For, as soundest bodies are subject to grievous 
diseases, because they onely can force them : so the aire 
about me being very healthy, wher in no mans memory, 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 303 

infection (although very neere) could ever take footing : 
comming now to be poisoned brought forth strange effects. 

Mista senum et juvenurn densantur fiinera nullum 
Sceva caput Proserpina fugit. 

ii, HoK. Car. i. Od. xxviii. 19. 

Of old and young thicke funerals are shared ; 
By cruell Proserpine no head is spared. 

I was faine to endure this strange condition, that the 
sight of my house was irkesome unto me. Whatever was 
therein, lay all at random, no man looked thereunto; and 
was free for any that had a minde unto it. I who have so 
long beene a good housekeeper, and used to hospitality, 
was much troubled and put to my shifts, how to finde out 
some retreate for my family. A dismaied and scattered 
family, making both her selfe and her friends afraide, and 
breeding horrour where it sought to retire for shelter ; 
being now to shift and change her dwelling, so soone as 
any of the company beganne to feele his finger ake, all the 
rest were dismaied. Every sicknesse is then taken for the 
plague: none hath leasure to consider them. And the 
mischiefe is, that according to rules of arte, what danger 
soever approcheth, a man must continue forty dayes in 
anxiety or feare of that evill ; in which time your owne 
imagination doth perplex you as she list and infect your 
i health. All which had much lesse toucht mee, had I not 
beene forced to beare other mens burthens and partake all 
their grievances, and for six months space, in miserable 
maner, to be a woefull guide to so great-confused a Cara- 
vane. For I ever carry my preservatives [about] me, which 
are resolution and sufferance. Apprehension doth not 
greatly presse me, which is particularly feared in this sick- 
nesse. And if being alone, I should have taken it, it had beene 
a stronger and further flight : It is a death in mine opinion, 
not of the worst : It is commonly short and speeding, voide 
of lingring giddinesse, without paine, comforted by the 
, publike condition : without ceremonie, without mourning, 
and without thronging. But for the people about us, the 
I hundreth part of soules cannot be saved. 

— videas desertdque regna 
I Pastorum, et longe saltus lateque vacantes. 

Kingdomes of Shepherds desolate forlorne, 
Parkes farre and neere lie waste, a state all torne. 

304 Montaigne's Essayes 

In that place, my best revenue is manuall : what a hundred 
men laboured for me, lay fallow for a long time. What ex- 
amples of resolution saw we not then in all this peoples sim- 
plicity? Each one generally renounced all care of life. The 
grapes (which are the countries chiefe commoditie) hung still 
and rotted upon the vines untouch 't : all indifferently prepar- 
ing themselves, and expecting death, either that night or the 
next morrow : with countenance and voice so little daunted, 
that they seemed to have compromitted to this necessitie, and 
that it was an universall and inevitable condemnation. It 
is ever such. But what slender hold hath the resolution of 
dying? The difference and distance of some few houres 
the onely consideration of the company yeelds the appre- 
hension diverse unto us. Behold these because they die in 
one same month, children, yong, old; they are no more 
astonied, they are no longer wept-for. I saw some that 
feared to stay behinde, as if they had beene in some horrible 
solitude : And commonly I knew no other care amongst 
them, but for graves : it much grieved them, to see the 
dead carcasses scattered over the fields, at the mercy of 
wilde beasts ; which presently began to flocke thither. Oh 
hov/ humane fantasies differ and are easily disjoined ! The 
Neorites, a nation whilome subdued by Alexander the 
Great, cast out their dead mens bodies into the thickest of 
their woods, there to be devoured : the grave onely 
esteemed happy among them. Some in good health digged 
already their graves ; othersome yet living did goe into 
them. And a day-labourer of mine, as he was dying, with 
his owne hands and feet pulled earth upon him, and so 
covered himselfe. Was not this a lying downe in the shade 
to sleepe at ease? An enterprise in some sort as highly 
noble, as that of some Romane Souldiers, who after the 
battel of Canna, were found with their heads in certaine 
holes or pits, which themselves had made, and filled upj 
with their hands, wherein they were smothered. To con- 
clude, a whole nation was presently by use brought to ai 
march, that in undantednesse yeelds not to any consulted I 
and fore-meditated resolution. The greatest number of 
learnings instructions, to encourage us have more shew then 1 
force, and more ornament then fruit. Wee have forsaken 
nature, and yet wee will teach her her lesson : Shee, that 
lead us so happily, and directed us so safely : And in the 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 305 

meane while, the traces of her instructions and that little, 
which by the benefit of ignorance, remaineth of her image, 
imprinted in the life of this rusticall troupe of unpolished 
men; learning is compelled to goe daily a borrowing, 
thereby to make her disciples a patterne of constancy, of 
innocency and of tranquilitie. It is a goodly matter to see 
how these men full of so great knowledge, must imitate 
this foolish simplicitie ; yea in the first and chiefe actions 
of vertue. And that our wisedome should learne of beasts, 
the most profitable documents, belonging to the chiefest 
and most necessary parts of our life. How we should live 
and die, husband our goods, love and bring up our children, 
and entertaine justice. A singular testimonie of mans in- 
firmitie : and that this reason we so manage at our pleasure, 
ever finding some diversitie and noveltie, leaveth unto us 
no maner of apparant tracke of nature. Wherewith men 
have done, as perfumers do with oyle, they have adulter- 
ated her, with so many argumentations, and sofisticated 
her with so diverse farre-fetcht discourses, that she is be- 
come variable and peculiar to every man, and hath lost her 
proper, constant and universall visage : whereof we must 
seeke for a testimony of beasts, not subject to favor or 
corruption, nor to diversity of opinions. For it is most 
true, that themselves march not alwaies exactly in natures 
path, but if they chance to stray it is so little, that you may 
ever perceive the tracke. Even as horses led by hand doe 
sometimes bound and start out of the way, but no further 
then their halters length, and neverthelesse follow ever his 
steps that leadeth them : And as a Hawke takes his flight 
but under the limfts of hir cranes, or twyne. Exilia, tor- 
menta^ hella, morhos, naufragia rneditare, ut nullo sis tnalo 
tyro. Banishtnents, torments, warres, sicknesses, ship- 
wracks, all these fore-cast and premeditate, that thou 
maiest seeme no novice, no freshwater souldier to any mis- 
adventure. What availeth this curiosity unto us, to pre- 
occupate all humane natures inconveniences, and with so 
much labour and toyling against them, to prepare our 
selves, which peradventure shall nothing concerne us? 
(Parent passis tristitiain facit, pati posse. It makes men 
as sad that they may suffer some mischiefe, as if they had 
suffred it. Not onely the blow, but the winde and cracke 
strikes us) Or as the most febricitant, for surely it is a 

3o6 Montaigne's Essayes | 

kinde of fever, now to cause your selfe to be whipped, 
because fortune may one day chance to make you endure 
it: and at Mid-Sommer to put-on your furr'd Gowne, 
because you shall neede it at Christmas ? Cast your selves 
into the experience of all the mischiefes, that may befall 
you, namely of the extreamest : there try your selfe (say 
they) there assure your selfe. Contrariwise, the easiest and 
most naturall, were even to discharge his thought of them. 
They will not come soone enough, their true being doth 
not last us long enough, our ispirit must extend and 
lengthen them, and before-hand incorporate them into him- 
selfe, as if they lay not sufficiently heavy on our senses. 
They will weigh heavy enough when they shall be there, 
(saith one of the maisters, not of a tender, but of the 
hardest Sect) meane while favour thy selfe : Beleeve what 
thou lovest best : What availes it thee to collect and prevent 
thy ill fortune : and for feare of the future, lose the present ; 
and now to be miserable, because in time thou maiest bee 
so? They are his owne words. Learning doth us will- 
ingly one good office, exactly to instruct us in the demen- 
sions of evils. 

Curis aciiens tnortalia corda. 
Mens cof^itations whetting, 
With sharpe cares inly fretting. 

It were pitty, any part of their greatnesse should escape 
our feeling and understanding. It is certaine, that pre- 
paration unto death, hath caused more torment unto most, 
than the very sufferance. It was whilome truely said, 
of and by a most judicious Author : Minus afficit sensus 
fatigatio^ quam cogitatio. Wearinesse lesse trouhleth our 
senses, then pensivenesse doth. The apprehension of 
present death, doth sometimes of it selfe animate us, with 
a ready resolution, no longer to avoide a thing altogether 
inevitable. Many Gladiators have in former ages beene 
scene, having at first fought very cowardly, most couragi- 
ously to embrace death ; offering their throate to the 
enemies sword, yea and bidde them make haste. The sight 
distant from future death hath neede of a slowe constancy, 
and by consequence hard to bee found. If you know not 
how to die, take no care for it, Nature her selfe will fully 
and sufficiently teach you in the nicke, she will exactly dis- 
charge that worke for you ; trouble not your selfe with it. 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 307 

Incertam frustra tnortales funeris horam 

Quccritis, et qud sit mors aditura via: 
Poena minor certam stibito perferre ritinam, 

Quod timeas, gravius stistinuisse din. 

Catul. Eleg. i. 29, 16. 

Of death th' uncertaine houre you men in vaine 
Enquire, and what way death shall you destraine : 

A certaine sodaine ruine is lesse paine, 

More grievous long what you feare to sustaine. 

VVe trouble death with the care of life, and life with the 
are of death. The one annoyeth, the other affrig-hts us. 
It is not against death, we prepare our selves, it is a thing 
too momentary. A quarter of an houre of passion with- 
out consequence and without annoyance, deserves not par- 
ticular precepts. To say truth, we prepare our selves 
against the preparations of death. Philosophy teacheth 
us, ever to have death before our eyes, to fore-see and con- 
sider it before it come: Then giveth us rules and precau- 
tions so to provide, that such foresight and thought hurt 
us not. So doe Phisitions, who cast us into diseases, that 
they may employ their drugges and skill about them. If 
we have not known how to live, it is injustice to teach 
us how to die, and deforme the end from all the rest. 
Have wee knowne how to live constantly and quietly, wee 
shall know how to die resolutely and reposedly. They may 
bragge as much as they please. Tota Philosophoruni vita 
commentatio mortis est. The whole life of a Philosopher 
is the meditation of his death. But me thinkes, it is in- 
deede the end, yet not the scope of life. It is her last, 
it is her extremity, yet not her object. Hir selfe must be 
unto hir selfe, hir aime, hir drift and her designe. Hir 
direct studie is, to order, to direct and to suffer hir selfe. 
In the number of many other offices, which the generall and 
principall Chapter, to know how to live containeth, is this 
speciall Article To know how to die. And of the easiest, 
did not our owne feare weigh it downe. To judge them 
by their profit and by the naked truth, the lessons of sim- 
plicity, yeeld not much to those, which Doctrine preacheth 
to the contrary unto us. Men are different in feeling, and 
diverse in force : they must be directed to their good, 
according to themselves, and by diverse waies : 

Quo me cumque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes. 

HoR. i. Epist. i, 15. 

3o8 Montaigne's Essayes 

Where I am whirld by winde and wether ; 
I guest-like straight am carried thc-ther. 

I never saw meane paisant of my neighbours, enter into 
cogitation or care, with what assurance or countenance, 
hee should passe this last houre. Nature teacheth him 
never to muze on death but when he dieth. And then hath 
he a better grace in it, than Aristotle; whom death per- 
plexed doubly, both by her selfe and by so long a premedi- 
tation. Therefore was it Ccesars opinion, that The least 
premeditated death, 7vas the happiest and the easiest. Plus 
dolet, quam necesse est, qui ante dolet, quatn necesse est. 
He grieves more than he need, That grieves before he 
neede. The sharpnesse of this imagination proceeds from 
our curiosity. Thus we ever hinder our selves ; desiring 
to fore-runne and sway naturall prescriptions : It is but 
for Doctors being in health, to fare the worse by it, and to 
frowne and startle at the Image of death. The vulgar 
sort, have neither neede of remedy nor comfort, but when 
the shocke or stroke commeth. And justly considers no 
more of it, than he feeleth. And is it not as we say, that 
the vulgars stupidity and want of apprehension, affoorde 
them this patience in private evils, and this deepe careles- 
nes of sinister future accidents? That their mind being 
more grosse, dull and blockish, is lesse penetrable and 
agitable? In Gods name, if it be so, let us henceforth 
keepe a schoole of brutality. It is the utmost fruit that 
Sciences promise unto us, to which she so gently bringeth 
her disciples. We shall not want good teachers, inter- 
preters of naturall simplicity. Socrates shall be one. For, 
as neare as I remember, he speaketh in this sense [unto] 
the Judges, that determine of his life : / feare me 7ny 
Maisters (saith hee) that if I intreate you not to make me 
die, I shall confirme the evidence of my accusers; which 
is. That I prof esse to have more understanding than others, 
as having some knowledge more secret and hid of things 
both above and beneath us. I know I have neither fre- 
quented nor knowne death, nor have I seene any body, 
that hath either felt or tried her qualities, to instruct me 
in them. Those who feare her, presuppose to know: As 
for me, I neither know who or what she is, nor what they 
doe in the other world. Death may peradventure be a thing 
indifferent, happily a thing desirable. Yet is it to bee be- 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 309 

leevedy that if it he a transmigration from one place to 
another, there is some amendement in going to live with 
so many worthy famous persons , that are deceased: and 
he exempted from having any more to doe with wicked and 
corrupted Judges. If it be a consummation of ones being, 
it is also an amendment and entrance into a long and quiet 
night. Wee finde nothing so sweete in life, as a quiet 
rest and gentle sleepe, and without dreanies. The things 
I know to he wicked, as to wrong or offend ones neigh- 
hour : and to disobey his superiour, he he God or man, I 
carefully shunne them: Such as I know not whether they 
bee good or bad, I cannot feare them. If I goe to my 
death, and leave you alive: The Gods onely see, whether 
you or I shall prosper best. And therefore, for my regarde, 
you shall dispose of it, as it shall best please you. But 
according to my fashion, ivhich is to counsell good and 
profitable things, this I say, that for your owne conscience 
you shall doe best to free and discharge mee : except you 
see further into mine owne cause than my selfe. And judg- 
ing according to my former actions, both publike and 
private, according to my intentions ; and to the profit, that 
so many of our Citizens, both young and olde, draw dayly 
from my conversation, and the fruit, all you reape by me, 
you cannot more justly or duely discharge your selves to- 
ward my desertes, than by appointing [my poverty con- 
sidered) that I may live, and at the common charge bee 
kepi, in the Brytaneo : which for lesse reasons, I have 
often seene you freely graunt to others. Impute it not to 
obstinacy or disdaine in me, nor take it in ill part, that I, 
according to custonie proceede not by way of intreatie, 
ind moove you to commiseration. I have both friends and 
kinsfolkes, being not (as Homer saith) begotten of a hlocke 
jr stone, no inore than other men: capable to present them- 
'i elves humbly suing with teares and mourning : and I have 
three desolate wailing children, to move you to pittie. But 
I should make [owr] Citie ashamed, of the age I am in, 
2nd in that reputation of wisedom^, as now I stand in pre- 
vention to yeeld unto so base and abject countenances. 
What would the world say of other Athenians? I have 
ever admonished such as have heard me speake, never to 
Purchase or redeeme their life, by any dishonest or unlaw- 
full act. And in my countries warres, both at Amphipolis, 

3IO Montaigne's Essayes 

at Potidea, at Delia, and others, in which I have heene, I 
have shewen by effects, how farre I was from warranting 
my safety by my shame. Moreover, I should interest your 
duty, and prejudice your calling, and perswade you to foule 
unlawfidl things; for, not my prayers, but the pure and 
solid reasons of justice shoidd perswade you. You have 
sworne to the Gods, so to maintaine your selves. Not to 
beleeve there were any, might seeme I woidd suspect, re- 
criminate or retorte the fault upon you. And my selfe. 
shoidd witnesse against my selfe, not to beleeve in them 
as I ought: distrusting their conduct, and not meerely 
remitting my affaires into their hands. I wholly trust and 
relie on them, and certainely holde, that in this, they will 
dispose as it shall bee meetest for you, and fittest for me. 
Honest men, that neither live, nor are dead, have no cause 
at all to feare the Gods. Is not this a childish pleading-, of 
an inimagfinable courage ; and in what necessity employed ? 
Verily it was reason, hee should preferre it before that, 
which the great Orator Lysias had set downe in writing 
for him, excellently fashioned in a judiciary Stile ; but 
unworthy of so noble a criminall. Should a man have 
heard an humbly-suing voice out of Socrates his mouth? 
Would that proud vertue have failed in the best of her 
shew? And would his rich and powerfuU nature, have 
committed her defence unto arte, and in her highest Essay, 
renounced unto truth and sinceritie, the ornaments of his 
speech to adorne and decke himselfe with the embellish- 
ment of the figures and fictions of a fore-learn 't Oration? 
Hee did most wisely, and according to himselfe, not to 
corrupt the tenure of an incorruptible life, and so sacred 
an image of humane forme, to prolong his decrepitude for 
one yeere ; and wrong the immortall memory of so glorious 
an end. He ought his life, not to himselfe, but to the 
worlds example. Had it not beene a publike losse, if he 
had finished the same in some idle, base and obscure 
manner? Truely, so carelesse and effeminate a considera- 
tion of his death, deserved, posteritie should so much more 
consider the same for him : which it did. And nothing is 
so just in justice, as that, which fortune ordained for his 
commendation. For the Athenians did afterward so detest 
and abhorre those, which had furthered and caused his 
death, that of all they were loathed and shunned as cursed 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 311 

and excommunicated men : what soever they had but 
touched was held to be polluted : No man would so much 
as wash with them in bathes or hot houses : no man affoord 
them a salutation, much lesse accost or have to doe with 
them : so that being- in the end no longer able to endure 
this publike hatred and gfenerall contempt, they all hanged 
themselves. If any man thinkes, that amongst so many 
examples, I might have chosen for the service of my pur- 
pose, in Socrates his sayings, I have chosen or handled 
this but ill : and deemeth this discourse, to be raised above 
common opinions: I have done it wittingly: for I judge 
otherwise and hold it to bee a discourse, in ranke and 
sincerity, much shorter and lower, then vulgar opinions. 
It representeth in an un-artificiall boldnesse, and infantine 
security, the pure impression and first ignorance of nature. 
Because it is credible, that we naturally feare paine, but 
not death, by reason of her. It is a part of our being, no 
lesse essentiall than life. To what end would Nature have 
else engendred the hate and horror of it, seeing it holdes 
therein, and with it a ranke of most great profit, to foster 
the succession and nourish the vicissitude of her works? 
And that in this universall Commonweale, it steadeth and 
serveth more for birth and augmentation, then for losse, 
decay or ruine. 

Sic rerum summa novatur. — Lucr. ii. 73. 

So doth the summe of all, 
By courses rise and fall. 

Mille animas una nccata dcdit. 

We thousand soules shall pay, 
For one soule made away. 

The decay of one life, is the passage to a thousand other 
lives. Nature hath imprinted in beasts, the care of them- 
selves and of their preservation. They proceede even to 
the feare of their empairing ; to shocke or hurt themselves : 
and that we should not shackle or beate them, accidents 
subject to their sense and experience : But that we should 
kill them, they cannot feare it, nor have they the faculty 
to imagine or conclude their death. Yet is it reported, that 
they are not seene onely to embrace and endure the same 
joyfully (most Horses neigh in dying, and Swannes sing 
when it seiseth them.) But moreover, they secke it when 

312 Montaigne's Essayes 

they neede it ; as by divers examples may be prooved in the 
Elephants. Besides, the manner of arguing, which 
Socrates useth here, is it not equally admirable, both in 
simplicitie and in vehemency? Verily It i^ much easier, to 
speake as Aristotle, and live as Caesar, than speake and 
live as Socrates. Therein consists the extreame degree of 
difficulty and perfection ; arte cannot attaine unto it Our 
faculties are not now so addressed. We neither assay, nor 
know them ; we invest our selves with others, and suffer 
our own to be idle. As by some might be saide of me : 
that here I have but gathered a nosegay of strange floures, 
and have put nothing of mine unto it, but the thred to 
binde them. Certes, I have given unto publike opinion, 
that these borrowed ornaments accompany me : but I meane 
not they should cover or hide me : it is contrary to mine 
intention, who would make shew of nothing that is not 
mine owne, yea mine owne by nature : And had I believed 
my selfe, at all adventure I had spoken alone. I dayly 
charge my selfe the more beyond my proposition and first 
forme, upon the fantasie of time, and through idlenesse. 
If it mis-seeme me as I thinke it doth, it is no great matter; 
it may be profitable for some other. Some alleadge Plato, 
some mention Homer, that never saiv them, or as they say 
in English, many a man speakes of Robin hood, that never 
shot in his how : And I have taken divers passages from 
others then in their spring. Without paine or sufficiency ; 
having a thousand volumes of bookes about mee, where 
nov.' I write, if I please, I may presently borrow from a 
number of such botcherly-patchcotes (men that I plod not 
much upon) wherewith to enamell this treaty of Physiog- 
nomie. I need but the liminary epistle of a Germane to 
store me with allegations : and we goe questing that way 
for a fading greedy glory, to cousin and delude the foolish 
world. These rapsodies of common places, wherewith sc 
many stuffe their study, serve not greatly but for vulgai 
subjects, and serve but to shew and not to direct us : 
ridiculous-fond fruite of learning, that Socrates doth sc 
pleasantly enveigh and [exagitate] against Euthydemus. 1 
have scene bookes made of things neither studied nor evei 
understood : the author [committing] to divers of hif 
learned and wise friends [the] search of this and thai 
matter, that so hee might compile them into a booke, con 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 313 

tenting himselfe for his owne part, to have cast the plot 
and projected the desseigne of it, and by his industry to 
have bound up the fagot of unknowne provisions : at least 
is the inke and paper his owne. This may bee saide to be 
a buying or borrowing, and not a making or compiHng of 
a booke. It is to teach men, not that one can make a 
booke, but to put them out of doubt, that hee cannot make 
it. A president of the law, in a place where I was, vanted 
himselfe, to have hudied up together two hundred and od 
strange places in a presidential! law-case of his : In pub- 
lishing of W'hich, he defaced the glory, which others gave 
him for it. A weake, childish and absurd boasting in my 
opinion, for such a subject and for such a man. I doe 
cleane contrary; and amongst so many borrowings, am 
indeed glad to filch some one ; disguising and altering the 
same to some new service. On hazard, to let men say, 
that it is for lacke of understanding it's naturall use, I 
give it some particular addressing of mine own hand, to 
the end it may be so much lesse meerely strange, ^^^hereas 
these put their larcenies to publike view and garish shew. 
So have they more credit in the lawes, then I. We other 
naturalists suppose, that there is a great and incomparable 
preference, bctweene the honour of invention and that of 
allegation. \\'ould I have spoken according to learning, 
I had spoken sooner : I had written at such times as I 
was neerer to my studies, when I had more wit and more 
memory ; and should more have trusted the vigor ot that 
age, then the imperfection of this, had I beene willing to 
professe writing of bookes. And what if this gratious 
favour, which fortune hath not long since offered me by 
the intermission of this worke, could have befalne me in 
such a season, in liew of this, where it is equally desire- 
able to possesse, and ready to loose? 

Two of mine acquaintance (both notable men in this 
faculty) have, in my conceit, lost much because they refused 
to publish themselves at forty yeares of age, to stay untill 
they were three score. Maturity hath her defects, as zvell 
as greenenesse, and worse. And as incommodious or unfit 
is old age unto this kinde of worke, as to any other. Who- 
soever put's his decrepitude under the presse, com.mitteth 
folly, if therby he hopes to wring out humors, that shall 
not taste of dotage, or foppery, or of drousinesse. Our 
III 442 L 

314 Montaigne's Essayes 

spirit becommeth costive and thickens in growing' old. Oi 
ignorance I speake sumptuously and plentiously, and oJ 
learning meagerly and pitiously : This accessorily and acci- 
dentally : That expressely and principally. And purposel} 
I treate of nothing, but of nothing : nor of any one science 
but of unscience. I have chosen the time, where the life 
I have to set forth, is all before me, the rest holds more 
of death. And of my death onely should I finde it babling, 
as others doe, I would willingly, in dislodging, give the 
World advise. Socrates hath beene a perfect patterne in 
all great qualities. I am vexed, that ever he met with sc 
unhansome and crabbed a body, as they say he had, and sc 
dissonant from the beauty of his minde. Ilimselfe sc 
amorous and so besotted on beauty. Nature did him 
wrong. There is nothing more truely-semblable, as the 
conformity or relation betweene the body and the minde. 
Ipsi aniini, magni refert, quali in corpore locati sint : multa 
enim e corpore existunt, qnce ociiant mentem: multa., qua' 
ohtundant. It is of great import in what body the minde 
is bestowed: for many things arise of the body to sharpen 
the minde, and many things to dull and rebate it. This 
man speakes of an unnaturall ill-favourdnesse, and mem- 
brall deformity : but we call ill favourdnesse a kinde of 
unseemelinesse at the first sight, which chiefely lodgeth in 
the face ; and by the colour worketh a dislike in us ; A 
freckle, a blemmish, a rude countenance, a sower looke, 
proceeding often of some inexplicable cause, may be in 
well ordered, comely and compleate limmes. The foule- 
nesse of face, which invested a beateous minde in my deare 
friend La Boitie, was of this predicament. This super- 
ficial! ill-favourdnesse, which is notwithstanding [the] most 
imperious, is of lesse prejudice unto the state of the minde : 
and hath small certainty in mens opinion. The other, by 
a more proper name called a more substantiall deformity, 
beareth commonly a deeper inward stroke. Not every 
shooe of smooth-shining leather, but every zvell-shapen and 
hansotne-made shoe, sheiveth the inward and right shape of 
the foote. As Socrates said of his, that it justly accused 
so much in his mind had he not corrected the same by 
institution. But in so saying, I suppose, that according 
to his wonted use, he did but jest : and so excellent a mind, 
did never frame it selfe. I cannot often enough repeate, 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 315 

how much I esteeme beauty, so powerfull and advantag"ious 
a quality is she. He named it, a short tyranny: And Plato 
the priviledge of Nature. We have none that exceeds it in 
credit. She possesseth the chiefe ranke in the commerce 
of society of men : She presents it selfe forward : she 
seduceth and preoccupates our judgement, with g^reat 
authority and wonderfull impression. Phryne had lost her 
plea, though in the hands of an excellent lawyer, if with 
Dpyening her garments, by the sodaine flashing of hir 
beauty, she had not corrupted her judges. And I finde, 
fthat Cyrus, Alexander and CcEsar those three Masters «of 
|the World, have not forgotten or neglected the same in 
latchieving their great affaires. So hath not the first 
Scipio. One same word in Greeke importeth faire and 
■good. And even the Holy-Ghost calleth often those good, 
which he meaneth faire. I should willingly maintaine the 
ranke of the goods, as imployed the song, which Plato 
saith to have beene triviall, taken from some ancient Poet ; 
Health, heauty and riches. Aristotle saith, that the right 
of commanding, doth of duty belong to such as are faire ; 
and if haply any be found, whose beauty approached to 
that of the Gods images, that veneration is equally due 
unto them. To one that asked him, why the fairest were 
both longer time and oftner frequented? This question 
(quoth he) ought not to be mooved hut hy a blinde man. 
Most, and the greatest Philosophers, paide for their school- 
ing and attained unto Wisedome, by the intermission of 
their beauty, and favour of their comlines. Not onely in 
men that serve me, but in beasts also, I consider the same 
within two inches of goodnesse. Yet me thinkes, that the 
same feature and manner of the face and those lineaments, 
by which some argue certaine inward complexions, and 
our future fortunes, is a thing that doth not directly nor 
simply lodge under the Chapter of beauty and ill favourd- 
nesse ; no more than all good favours, or cleerenesse of 
aire, doe not alwayes promise health : nor all fogges and 
stinkes, infection, in times of the plague. Such as accuse 
Ladies to contradict the beauty, by their manners, guesse 
not alwayes at the truth. For, In [an] ill favourd and ill 
composed face, may sometimes harbour some aire of pro- 
hify, and trust. As on the contrary, I have sometimes 
read between two faire eyes, the threats of a maligne and 

3i6 Montaigne's Essayes 

dang-erous-ill-boding- nature. There are some favourable 
Ph^/siog-nomies ; For in a throng- of victorious enemies, 5^ou 
shall presently am.middest a multitude of unknovvne faces,' 
make choise of one man more than of others, to yeeld your 
selfe unto, and trust your life ; and not properly by the 
consideration of beauty. A mans looke or aire of his face, 
is but a weake warrant ; notwithstanding" it is of some con- 
sideration. And were I to whipe them, I would more rudely 
scoiirg-e such as maliciously belie and betray the promises, 
which Nature had charactred in their front. And more 
severely v.'ould I punish malicious craft in a debonaire 
apparance and in a mild promising countenance. It 
seemeth there be some lucky and well boding- faces, and 
other some unlucky and ill-presaging : And I thinke, there 
is some Art to distinguish gently-milde faces, from nyaes 
and simple, the severe from the rude ; the malicious from 
the froward ; the disdainefull from the melancholike and 
other neighbouring qualities. There are some beauties, not 
onely fierce-looking, but also sharpe working, some others 
pleasingf-sweet and yet wallowishly tastlesse. To prog- 
nosticate future successes of themi, be matters I leave 
undecided. I have (as elsewhere I noted) taken for my 
regard this ancient precept, very rawly and simply : That 
" JVe cannot erre in folloiving Nature " : and that the 
soveraig-ne document is, for a man to conforme himselfe 
to her. I have not (as Socrates) by the power and vertue 
of reason, corrected my natural complexions, nor by Art 
hindered mine inclination. Looke how 1 came into the 
^Vorld, so I g-oe-on : I strive with nothing-. My two 
Mistris parts, live of their owne kindnesse in peace and 
good agreement ; but my nurses milke, hath (thankes be 
to God) been indifferently wholesome and temperate. Shall 
I say thus m'uch by the way? That I see a certaine imag-e 
of bookish or scholasticall preud'hommie, onely which is 
in a maner in use amongst us, held and reputed in greater 
esteeme than it deserveth, and which is but a servant unto 
precepts, brought under by hope, and constrained by feare? 
I love it such as lawes and religions make not, but over-: 
make and authorize ; that they may be perceived to have | 
wherewith to uphold her selfe without other aide : sprung ! 
up in us of her owne proper roots, by and from the seed i 
of universall reason, imprinted in every man that is not 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 317 

unnaturall. The same reason, that rcformeth Socrates 
from his vicious habite, yeelds him obedient both to Gods 
and men, that rule and command his City : couragious in 
his death ; not because his soule is immortall, but because 
he is mortall. A ruinous instruction to all common-weales, 
nd much more harmefuU, than ing^enious and subtile, is 
that which perswadeth men that onely religious belief e, and 
without manners, sufficeth to content and satisfie divine 
justice. Custome makes us see an enormous distinction 
betweene devotion and conscience. I have a favourable 
apparence, both in forme and in interpretation. 

Quid dixi habere me? Itno hahui Chreme : 
Hen tantiim attriti corporis ossa vides. 

Ter, llcau. act. i. sc. i. 

1 have; what did I say? 
I had what's now away. 
Alas, you onely now behold 
Bones of a body worne and old. 

And which makes a contrary shew^ to that of Socrates. 
It hath often betided me, that by the simple credit of my 
presence and aspect, some that had no knowledge of me, 
have greatly trusted unto it, were .> it about their ov/ne 
laffaires or mine. And even in forraine countries, 1 have 
|thereby reaped singular and rare favours. These two 
experiments, are haply worthy to be particularly related. 
A quidam gallant, determined upon a time to surprise both 
my house and my selfe. His plot was, to come riding alone 
to my gate, and instantly to urge entrance, I knew him 
by name, and had some reason to trust him, being my 
neighbour and somwhat alide unto me. I presently caused 
my gates to be opened, as I do to all men. He comes-in 
all afrighted, his horse out of breath ; both much harassed. 
He entertaines me with this fable, that within halfe a league 
of my house he was sodainely set-upon by an enemy of 
his, whom I knevv^ well and had heard of their quarrell : 
that his foe had wondrously put him to his spurres ; that 
being surprised unarmed, and having fewer in his company 
then the other, he was glad to runne away, and for safet}^ 
had made haste to come to my house, as to his sanctuary : 
That he was much perplexed for his men, all which he 
supposed to be either taken or slaine. I endevoured 

3i8 Montaigne's Essayes 

friendly to comfort and sincerely to warrant and refresh 
him. Within a while came gallopping- foure or five of his 
Souldiers, amazed, as if they had beene out of their wits, 
hasting- to be let-in : Shortly after came others, and others, 
all proper men, well mounted, better armed, to the number 
of thirty or there abouts, all seeming distracted for feaic, 
as if the enemy that pursued them had beene at their, 
heeles. This mystery beg-anne to summon my suspicion. 
I was not ignorant of the age wherein I lived, nor how 
much my house might be envied : and had sundry examples 
of others of my acquaintance, that had beene spoiled, beset 
and surprised thus and thus. So it is, that perceiving with 
my selfe, there was nothing to be gotten, though I had 
begunne to use them kindly, if I continued not, and being 
unable to rid my selfe of them and cleare my house with- 
out danger and spoiling all ; as I ever doe, I tooke the 
plainest and naturall well meaning way, and commanded 
they should be let-in and bid welcome. And to say truth, 
1 am by nature little suspicious or mistrustfull, I am easily 
drawen to admit excuses and encline to mild interpreta-- 
tions. I take men according to common order, and sup- 
pose every one to meane as I doe, and beleeve these per- 
verse and trecherous inclinations, except I be compelled 
by some authenticall testimony, no more then monsters or 
miracles. Besides, I am a man, that willingly commit my 
selfe unto fortune, and carelesly cast my selfe into her 
armes : \\niereof hitherto I have more just cause to com- 
mend my selfe, then to complaine. And have found her 
more circumspect and friendly-carefull of my affaires, then 
I am my selfe. There are certaine actions in my life, the 
conduct of which may justly be termed difficult, or if any 
be so disposed, prudent. And of those, suppose the third 
part of them to be mine owne ; truely the other two are 
richly hirs. We are to blame, and in my conceit we erre,. 
that we doe not sufficiently and so much as we ought, trust 
the heavens with our selves. And pretend more in our 
owne conduct, then of right appertaines unto us. There- 
fore doe our desseignes so often miscarry, and our intents 
so seldome sort to wished effect. The heavens are angry, 
and I may say envious of the extension and large priviledge 
v/e ascribe unto the right of humane wisedomc, to the pre- 
judice of theirs : and abridge them so much the more unto 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 319 

US, by how much more we endevour to ampHfie them. But 
to come to my former discourse. These g-allants kept still 
on horsebacke in my court, and would not alight : their 
Captaine with me in my hall, who would never have his 
horse set-up, still saying that he would not stay, but must 
necessarily withdraw himselfe, so soone as he had newes 
of his followers. He saw himselfe master of his enter- 
prise; and nothing was wanting but the execution. Hee 
hath since reported very often, (for he was no whit scrupul- 
ous or afraid to tell this story) that my undaunted lookes, 
my undismaide countenance, and my liberty of speech, 
made him reject all manner of treasonable intents or 
trecherous desseignes. What shall I say more? He bids 
me farewell, calleth for his horse, gets up, and offreth to 
be gone, his people having continually their eyes fixed upon 
him, to observe his lookes and see what signe he should 
make unto them : much amazed to see him be gone, and 
wondring to see him omit and forsake such an advantage. 
An other time, trusting to a certaine truce or cessation of 
armes, that lately had beene published through our campes 
in France, as one suspecting no harme, I undertooke a 
journey from home, through a dangerous and very ticklish 
countrey ; I had not rid far, but I was discovered, and 
behold three or foure troupes of horsemen, all severall 
wayes, made after me, with purpose to entrap me : One 
of which overtooke mee the third day ; where I was round 
beset and charged by fifteene or twenty Gentlemen, who 
had all vizards and cases, followed a loofe-off by a band 
of Argoletiers. I was charged, I yeelded, I was taken and 
immediatly drawne into the bosome of a thicke Wood, that 
as not far-off; there puld from my horse, stripped with 
all speed, my truncks and cloke-bags rifled, my box taken ; 
my horses, my equipage and such things as I had, dispersed 
and shared amongst them. We continued a good while 
amongst those thorny bushes, contesting and striving 
about my ransome which they racked so high, that it 
appeared well I was not much knowne of them. They had 
long contestation among themselves for my life. And to 
say truth : there were many circumstances, threatned me 
of the danger I was in. 

Tunc animis opus, JEnea, tunc pectore firmo. 

ViRG. /En. vi. 

320 Montaigne's Essayes 

Of coiirage then indeed, 
Then of stout brest is need. 

I ever stood upon the title and priviledg-e of the truce 
and proclamation made in the Kings name, but that availed 
not : I was content to quit them what ever they had taken 
from me, which was not to be despised, without promising- 
other ransome. After we had debated the matter to and 
fro, the space of two or three houres, and that no excuses 
could serve, they set me upon a lame jade, which they knew 
could never escape them, and committed the particular 
keeping- of my person to fifteene or twenty harque-busiers, 
and dispersed my people to others of their crew, command- 
ing- we should all divers wayes be carried prisoners ; and 
my selfe being gone two or threescore paces from them, 

Jam prece Pollucis, jam Castoris implorata. 

Catul. El. iv. 65. 
Pollux and Castors aide, 
When I had humbly praide, 

behold a sodain and unexpected alteration took them. I 
saw their Captaine comming towards me, with a cheerful 
countenance and much milder speeches then before : care- 
fully trudging up and down through all the troups, to find 
out my goods againe, which as he found al scattred he 
forced every man to restore them unto me ; and even my 
boxe came to my hands againe. To conclude, the most 
precious jewcll they presented me, was in liberty ; as for 
my other things, I cared not greatly at that time. What 
the true cause of so unlookt-for a change and so sodaine 
an alteration was, without any apparent impulsion, and of 
so wonderfull repentance, at such a time, in such an oppor- 
tunity and in such an enterprise, fore-meditated, consulted 
and effected without controlement, and which through cus- 
tonie and the impiety of times was now become lawfull, (for 
at the first brunt I plainely confessed, and genuinly told 
them what side I was of, where my way lay, and whither 
I was riding) I verily know not yet, nor can I give any 
reason for it. The chiefest amongst them unmasked him- 
selfe, told me his name and repeated divers times unto me, 
that I should acknowledge my deliverance to my coun- 
tenance, to my boldnesse and constancy of speech, and be 
beholding to them for it, insomuch as they made me un- 
worthy of such a misfortune ; and demanded assurance of 

The Third Booke Chap. XII 321 

me for the like curtesie. It may be, that the inscrutable 
g-oodnesse of God would use this vaine instrument for my 
preservation : For, the next morrow it also shielded me 
from worse mischief e or amboscadoes, whereof themselves 
g^ently forewarned me. The last is yet living, able to report 
the whole successe himselfe ; the other was slaine not long 
since. If my countenance had not answered for me, if the 
ingenuity of mine inward intent might not plainely have 
been disciphered in mine eyes and voice, surely I could 
never have continued so long, without quarrels or offences : 
with this indiscreete liberty, to speake freely (be it right 
or wrong) what ever commeth to my minde, and rashly to 
judge of things. This fashion may in some sort, (and that 
with reason) seeme uncivill and ill accomodated in our 
customary manners : but outragious or malicious, I could 
never meete with any, would so judge it, or that was ever 
distasted at my liberty if he received the same from my 
mouth. Words reported againe have as another sound, 
so another sense. And to say true, I hate no body ; And 
am so remisse to offend, or slow to wrong any, that for 
the service of reason it selfe, I cannot doe it. And if occa- 
sions have at any time urged me in criminall condemna- 
tions to doe as others, I have rather beene content to be 
amearced then to appeare. Ut magis peccari nolim, quam 
satis aninii, ad vindicanda peccata haheam. So as I had 
rather men should not offend, then that I should have 
courage enough to punish their offences. Some report, 
that Aristotle being up-braided by some of his friends, that 
he had beene over mercifull toward a wicked man : 1 have 
indeede (quoth he) beene mercifull toward the man, hut not 
toward his wickednesse. Ordinary judgements are exas- 
perated unto punishment by the horror of the crime. And 
that enmildens mee. The horror of the first murther, 
makes me feare a second. And the uglinesse of one cruelty, 
induceth me to detest all maner of imitation of it. To me, 
that am but a plaine fellow and see no higher then a steeple, 
may that concerne, which was reported of Charilhis King 
of Sparta: He cannot he good, since he is not bad to the 
wicked. Or thus ; for Plutarke presents it two wayes, as he 
doth a thousand other things diversly and contrary ; He 
must needs be good, since he is so to the wicked. Even as 
in lawfull actions, it grieves me to take any paines about 

322 Montaigne's Essayes 

them, when it is with such as are therewith displeased 
So, to say truth, in unlawfull, I make no great conscience 
to employ my selfe or take paines about them, being witl 
such as consent unto them. 



There is no desire more naturall, then that of know 

Yledge. We attempt all meanes that may bring us unto it 

\\^hen reason failes us, we employ experience. 

Per varios usus artem experientia fecit, 
Exemplo inonslrante viam. — Manil. i. Ast. 6i 
By divers proofes experience art hath bred, 
Whilst one by one the way examples led. 

Which is a meane by much more, weake and vile. Bur 
truth is of so great consequence, that wee ought not dis- 
dalne any induction, that may bring us unto it. Reasor 
* hath so many shapes, that wee know not which to take 
hold of. Experience hath as many. The consequence w( 
seeke to draw from the conference of events, is unsure, 
because they are ever dissemblable. No quality Is so uni- 
versal! in this surface of things, as variety and diversity. 
The Greekes, the Latlnes, and wee use for the most ex- 
presse examples of similitude, that of egs. Some have 
neverthelesse beene found, especially one in DelphoSy thai 
knew markes of difference betweene egges, and never tooke 
one for another. And having divers hennes, could rightl) 
judge which had laid the egge. Dissimilitude doth of il 
selfe insinuate into our v/orkes, no arte can come neere 
unto similitude. Neither Perozet nor any other carde- 
maker can so industriously smoothe or whiten the backe- 
side of his cardes, but some cunning gamester will distin^ 
guish them, onely by seeing some other player handle or 
shuffle them. Resemblance doth not so much make one, 
as difference maketh another. Nature hath bound herselfe 
to make nothing that may not be dissemblable. Yet doth 
not the opinion of that man greatly please mee, that sup- 
posed by the multitude of lawes, to curbe the authority of 
judges, in cutting out their morsels. He perceived not, 
that there is as much liberty and extension in the interpreta- 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 323 

tion of lawes, as in their fashion. And those but mocke 
themselves, who thinke to diminish our debates and stay 
them, by calHng us to the expresse word of sacred Bible. 
Because our spirit findes not the field lesse spacious, to 
:ontroule and checke the sense of others, then to represent 
fiis own : and as if there were as litle courage and sharp- 
aesse to glose as to invent. Wee see how farre hee was 
deceived. For we have in France more lawes then all the 
kvorld besides ; yea more then were needefull to governe all 
the worlds imagined hy Epicurus : Ut olim fiagitiiSf sic 
nunc legibus lahoramiis. As in times past we were sicke 
of offences y so now are we of lawes. As we have given 
3ur judges so large a scope to moote, to opinionate, to sup- 
pose and decide, that there was never so powerfull and so 
licentious a liberty. What have our lawmakers gained 
^ith chusing a hundred thousand kinds of particular cases, 
and adde as many lawes unto them? That number hath 
no proportion, with the infinite diversity of humane acci- 
dents. The multiplying of our inventions shall never come ^ 
'o the variation of examples. Adde a hundred times as 
many unto them, yet shall it not follow, that of events to 
:ome, there be any one found, that in all this infinite num- 
3er of selected and enregistred events, shall meete with 
Dne, to which he may so exactly joyne and match it, but 
ome circumstance and diversity will remaine, that may 
equire a diverse consideration of judgement. There is 
DUt little relation betweene our actions, that are in per- 
)etuall mutation, and the fixed and unmoveable lawes. The 
■nost to be desired, are the rarest, the simplest and most 
3^enerall. And yet I believe, it were better to have none^ 
it all, then so infinite a number as we have. Nature gives " 
hem ever more happy, then those we give our selves. 
IVitnesse the image of the golden age that Poets faine ; 
md the state wherein we see divers nations to live, which 
lave no other. Some there are, who to decide any con- 
-Toversie, that may rise amongst them, will chuse for judge 
:he first man that by chance shall travell alongest their 
nountaines : Others, that upon a market day will name 
jome one amongst themselves, who in the place without 
"nore wrangling shall determine all their questions. What 
danger would ensue, if the wisest should so decide ours, 
according to occurrences and at the first sight : without 

324 Montaigne's Essayes ^ 

being- tied to examples and consequences? Let every foote 

^ have Jiis owne shooe. Ferdinando King" of Spaine sendijig 
certaine Colonies into the IndieSy provided wisely, that nc 

— lawyers or students of the lawes should bee carried thither, 
for feare lest controversies, sutes or processes should peopk 
that new found world. As a Science that of her owne 
nature engendreth altercation and division, judging wit! 

"^ Plato, that Lawyers and Phisitions are an ill provision foi 
any countrey. Wherefore is it, that our common language 
so easie to be understood in all other matters, becommetl 
so obscure, so harsh and so hard to bee understood in law- 
cases, bils, contracts, indentures, citations, wils and testa 
ments ? And that hee who so plainely expresseth himselfe 
what ever he spake or writ of any other subject, in lav 
matters findes no manner or way to declare himselfe or hi; 
meaning, that admits not some doubt or contradiction 
Unlesse it be, that the Princes of this art applying them 
selves with a particular attention, to invent and chus< 
strange, choise and solemne words, and frame artificial 
cunning clauses, have so plodded and poized every syllable 
canvased and sifted so exquisitely every seame and quid 
dity, that they are now so entangled and so confounded ii 
the infinity of figures and so severall-small partitions, tha 
they can no more come within the compasse of any order 
or prescription, or certaine understanding. Confusum es 
quidquid usque in pidverem sectum est. Whatsoever i. 

*^ sliced into very powder is confused. 

Whosoever hath seene children, labouring to reduce : 
masse of quicke-silver to a certaine number, the more the] 
presse and worke the same, and strive to force it to theii 
will, so much more they provoke the liberty of that gener 
ous metall, which scorneth their arte, and scatteringH 
disperseth it selfe beyond all imagination. Even so o' 
lawyers, who in subdividing their suttleties or quiddities 
teach men to multiply doubts : and by extending and di: 
versifying difficulties ; they lengthen and amplifie, the; 
scatter and disperse them. In sowing and retailing o: 
questions, they make the World to fructifie and abounc 
in uncertainty, in quarrels, in sutes and in controversies 
As the ground the more it is crumbled, broken and deepH 
remooved or [grubbed] up, becommeth so much morr 
fertile. Difficultatem facit doctrina. Learning breed.; 


The Third Booke Chap. XIII 325 

lifficulty. We found many doubts in UlpiaUj we finde 
nore in Bartolus and Baldus. The trace of this innumer- 
ible diversity of opinions should never have been used to 
idorne posterity, and have it put in her head, but rather 
lave beene utterly razed out. I know not what to say to 
t ; but this is seene by experience, that so many interpreta- 
ions, dissipate and confound all truth. Aristotle hath 
vritten to bee understood : Which if he could not, much 
esse shall another not so learned as he was ; and a third, 
han he who treateth his owne imagination. We open the 
natter, and spill it in distempering it. Of one subject we 
nake a thousand : And in multiplying and subdividing we 
al againe into the infinity of Epicurus his Atomes. It was 
lever seene, that two men judged alike of one same thing. 
\nd it is impossible to see two opinions exactly semblable : 
lot onely in divers men, but in any one same man, at 
;everall houres. I commonly find something to doubt-of, 
vhere the commentary happily never deigned to touch, as 
deeming it so plaine. I stumble sometimes as much in an 
ven smooth path ; as some horses that I know, who oftner 
rip in a faire plaine way, than in a rough and stony. Who 
vould not say, that glosses increase doubts and ignorance, 
^ince no booke is to be seene, whether divine or profane, 
commonly read of all men, whose interpretation dimmes or 
^arnisheth not the difficulty? The hundred commentary 
iends him to his succeeder, more thorny and more crabbed, 
han the first found him. When agreed we amongst our 
Selves, to say, this booke is perfect, there's now nothing 
o be said against it? This is best seene in our French- 
Dcdling Law. Authority of Law is given to infinite Doc- 
ors, to infinite arrests, and to as many interpretations. 
Finde we for all that any end of need of interpretors ? Is 
there any advancement or progresse towards tranquility 
seene therein? Have we now lesse need of Advocates and 
Judges, then when this huge masse of Law was yet in hir 
first infancy? Cleane contrary : we obscure and bury un- 
derstanding. We discover it no more but at the mercy of 
so many Courts, Barres, or Plea-benches. Men misac- 
iknowledge the naturall infirmity of their minde. She doth 
but quest and firret, and uncessantly goeth turning, wind- 
ing, building and entangling her selfe in hir owne worke ; 
as doe our silke-wormes, and therein stifleth hir selfe. Mus 

326 Montaigne's Essayes 

in pice. A Mouse in pitch. He supposeth to note a farre-' 
off I wot not what apparence of cleerenesse and imag-inaryl 
truth; but whilest he runneth unto it, so many lets andj 
diliiculties crosse his way, so many impeachments and new: 
questings start up, that they stray loose and besot him.j 
Not much otherwise than it fortuned to .^sops Dogs, whoi 
farre-off discovering some shew of a dead body to flote upon 
the Sea, and being unable to approach the same, under-' 
tooke to drinke up all the Water, that so they might drie-up 
the passage; and were all stifeled. To which answerethj 
that, which Crates said of Heraclitus his compositions, that 
they needed a Reader, who should bee a cunning swimmer, 
lest the depth and weight of his learning should drowne and 
swallow him up. It is nothing but a particular weakenesse, 
that makes us [contented] with that which others or we our 
selves have found in this pursuite of knowledge. A more 
sufficient man will not be pleased therewith. There is place 
for a follower, yea and for our selves, and More wayes to 
the Wood than one. There is no end in our inquisitions. 
Our end is in the other World. It is a signe his wits grow 
short, when he is pleased ; or a signe of wearinesse. No 
generous spirit stayes and relies upon himselfe. He ever 
pretendeth and goeth beyond his strength. He hath some 
vagaries beyond his effects. If hee advance not himselfe, 
presse, settle, shocke, turne, winde and front himselfe, he 
is but halfe alive; His pursuits are termelesse and forme- 
lesse. His nourishment is admiration, questing and am- 
biguity : Which Apollo declared sufficiently, alwayes speak- 
ing ambiguously, obscurely and obliquely unto us; not 
feeding, but busying and ammusing us. It is an irregular 
uncertaine motion, perpetuall, patternelesse and without 
end. His inventions enflame, follow and enter-produce one 

Ainsi voii-on en un ruisseau coulant, 

Sans fin I'une eau, afres I'autre roulant, 

Et tout de rang, d'un etetnel conduict, 

L'une suit I'autre, et I'une I'autre fuit. 

Par cette-cy, celle-ld est poussie, 

Et cette-cy, par I'autre est devancee : 

Tousjours I'eau va dans I'eau, et tousjours est cc 

Mesme ruisseau, et tousjours eau diverse. 

As in a running river we behold 

How one wave after th' other still is rold, 

And all along as it doth endlesse rise, 

Th' one th' other folio was, th' one from th' other flyes. 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 327 

By this Wave, that is driv'n ; and this againe, 
By th' other is set forward all amaine : 
Water in Water still, one river still. 
Yet divers Waters still that river fill. 

There's more adoe to enterpret interpretations, than to 
interpret things : and more bookes upon bookes, then upon 
any other subject. We doe but enter-glose our selves. All 
swarmeth with commentaries : Of Authors their is great 
penury. Is not the chiefest and most famous knowledge 
of our ages, to know how to understand the wise? Is it 
not the common and last scope of our study? Our opinions 
are grafted one upon an other. The first serveth as a 
stocke to the second ; the second to the third. Thus we 
ascend from steppe to steppe. Whence it followeth, that 
the highest-mounted hath often more honour, than merit. 
For, hee is got-up but one inch above the shoulders of the 
last save one. How often and peradventure foolishly, 
have I enlarged my Booke to speake of himselfe? Fool- 
ishly if it were but for this reason : That I should have 
remembred, that what I speake of others, they doe the like 
of me. That those so frequent glances on their workes, 
witnes their hart shivereth with their love they beare them ; 
and that the disdainfull churlishnesse wherewith they beate 
them, are but mignardizes and affectations of a motherly 
favour. Following Aristotle, in whom, both esteeming 
and disesteeming himselfe, arise often of an equall aire of 
arrogancy. For mine excuse ; That in this I ought to have 
more liberty than others, forsomuch as of purpose, I write 
30th of my selfe and of my writings, as of my other actions : 
that my theame doth turne into it selfe : I wot not whether 
every man will take it. I have scene in Germany, that 
Luther hath left as many divisions and altercations, con- 
cerning the doubt of his opinions, yea and more, than him- 
selfe moveth about the Holy Scriptures. Our contestation 
is verball. I demaund what Nature voluptuousnesse, circle 
and substitution is? The question is of words, and with 
words it is answered. A stone is a body : but he that 
5hould insist and urge : And what is a body? A substance : 
And what a substance? And so goe-on : Should at last 
bring the respondent to his Calepine or wits end. One 
word is changed for another word, and often more un- 
knowns I know better what Homo is, then I know what 
Animal is, either mortall or reasonable. To answere one 

328 Montaigne's Essayes 

doubt, they give me three : It Is Hidraes head. Socrates 
demanded of Memnon what vertue was ; There is answered 
Memnon, the vertue of a Man, of a Woman, of a Magis- 
trate, of a private Man, of a Childe, of an old Man : What 
vertue meane you? Yea marry, this is very well, quoth 
Socrates ; we were in search of one vertue, and thou bring- 
est me a whole swarme. We propose one question, and 
we have a whole huddle of them made unto us againe. 
As no event or forme doth wholly resemble another, so doth 
it not altogether differ one from another. Oh ingenious 
mixture of Nature. // our faces were not like^ we could 
not discerne a man from a heast: If they were not unlike, 
we could not distinguish one man from another man. All 
things hold by some similitude : Every example limpeth. 
And the relation, which is drawne from experience, is ever 
defective and imperfect. Comparisons are neverthelesse 
joyned together by some end. So serve the Lawes, and so 
are they sorted and fitted to all our sutes or affaires ; by 
some wiredrawen, forced and collaterall interpretation. 
Since the morall Lawes which respect the particular duty 
of every man in himselfe, are so hard to be taught and ob- 
served, as we see they are : It is no wonder, if those which 
governe so many particulars, are more hard. Consider the 
forme of this Law, by which we are ruled : It is a lively 
testimony of humane imbecility; so much contradiction, 
and so many errours are therin contained. That which 
we thinke favour or rigour In Law (wherein is so much of 
either, that I wot not well whether we shall so often find 
indifferency in them,) [are] crazed-infected parts and unjust 
members of the very body and essence of Law. Certaine 
poore country-men came even now to tell me in a great 
haste, that but now in a forrest of mine, they have left a 
man wounded to death, with a hundred hurts about him, 
yet breathing, and who for Gods sake hath begged a little 
water and some helpe to raise himselfe at their hands. 
But that they durst not come neere him, and ran all away, 
for feare some of^cers belonging to the Law should meete 
and catch them ; and as they doe with such as they find 
neere unto a murthered body, so they should bee compelled 
to give an account of this mischance, to their utter undoo- 
ing ; having neither friends nor mony to defend their inno- 
cency. What should I have said unto them? It is most 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 329 

certaine, that this Office of humanity had brought them to 
much trouble. How many innocent and guiltlesse men 
have we scene punished ? I say without the Judges fault ; 
and how many more that were never discovered? This 
hath hapned in my time. Certaine men are condemned to 
death for a murther committed ; the sentence, if not pro- 
nounced, at least concluded and determined. This done, 
The Judges are advertised by the Officers of a subalternall 
Court, not farre-off, that they have certaine prisoners in 
hold, that have directly confessed the foresaid murther, 
and thereof bring most evident markes and tokens. The 
question and consultation is now in the former Court, 
whether for all this, they might interrupt, or should deferre 
the execution of the sentence pronounced against the first. 
They consider the novelty of the example and consequence 
thereof, and how to reconcile the judgement. They con- 
clude, that the condemnation hath passed according unto 
Law, and therefore the Judges are not subject to repent- 
ance. To be short, these miserable Wretches are conse- 
crated to the prescriptions of the Law. Philip, or some 
other, provided for such an inconvenience, in this manner. 
He had by an irrevocable sentence condemned one to pay 
another a round summe of money for a fine. A while after, 
the truth being discovered, it was found, he had wrongfully 
condemned him. On one side was the right of the cause, 
on the other the right of judiciary formes. He is in some 
sort to satisfie both parties, suffering the sentence to stand 
in full power : and with his owne purse recompenced the 
interest of the condemned. But hee was to deale with a 
reparable accident, my poore slaves were hanged irrepar- 
ably. How many condemnations have I scene more 
criminall, than the crime it selfe? All this put me in minde 
of those ancient opinions ; That Hee who will doe right in 
grosse, must needs doe wrong by retaile ; and injiistly in 
small things y that will come to doe justice in great matters ; 
That humane justice is framed according to the modell of 
physicke, according to which, whatsoever is profitable is 
also just and honest : And of that the Stoickes hold, that 
Nature her selfe in most of her workes, proceedeth against 
justice : And of that which the Cyreniaques hold, that there 
is nothing just of it selfe : That customes and lawes frame 
justice. And the Theodorians, who in a wise man allow 

330 Montaigne's Essayes 

as just, all manner of theft, sacriledge and paillardise, so 
he thinke it profitable for him. There is no remedy : I 
am in that case, as Alcibiades was, and if I can otherwise 
chuse, will never put my selfe unto a man that shall deter- 
mine of my head ; or consent that my honour or life, shall 
depend on the industry or care of mine atturney, more then 
mine innocency. I could willingly adventure my selfe, and 
stand to that Law, that should as well recompence me for 
a good deed, as punish me for a mis-deede : and where I 
might have a just cause to hope, as reason to feare. In- 
demnitie is no sufficient coyne for him, who doth better 
than not to trespasse. Our Law presents us but one of her 
hands, and that is her left hand. Whosoever goes to 
Law, doth in the end hut lose hy it. In China, the policy, 
arts and government of which kingdome, having neither 
knowledge or commerce with ours ; exceed our examples 
in divers parts of excellency ; and whose Histories teach 
me, how much more ample and divers the World is, than 
cyther we or our forefathers could ever enter into. The 
C)fficers appointed by the Prince to visite the state of his 
Provinces, as they punish such as abuse their charge, so 
with great liberality they reward such as have uprightly 
and honestly behaved themselves in them, or have done 
any thing more then ordinary, and besides the necessity 
of their duty : There, all present themselves, not onely to 
warrant themselves, but also to get something : Not simply 
to be paid, but liberally to be rewarded. No judge hath 
yet, God be thanked, spoken to me as a judge in any cause 
whatsoever, either mine or another mans ; criminal or civill. 
No prison did ever receive me, no not so much as for recrea- 
tion to walke in. The very imagination of one, maketh 
the sight of their outside seeme irkesome and loathsome to 
mee. I am so besotted unto liberty, that should any man 
forbid me the accesse unto any one corner of the Indiaes 
I should in some sort live much discontented. And so long 
as I shall finde land or open aire elsewhere, I shall never 
lurke in any place, where I must hide my selfe. Oh God, 
how hardly could I endure the miserable condition of so 
many men, confined and immured in some corners of this 
kingdome, barred from entring the chiefest Cities, from 
accesse into Courts ; from conversing with men, and inter- 
dicted the use of common wayes, onely because they have 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 331 

offended our lawes. If those under which I live, should 
but threaten my fingers end, I would presently goe finde out 
some others, wheresoever it were. All my small wisedome, 
in these civill and tumultuous warres, wherin we now live, 
doth wholly employ it selfe, that they may not interrupt my 
liberty, to goe and come where ever I list. Lawes are now 
maintained in credit, not because they are essentially just, 
but because they are lawes. It is the mysticall foundation 
of their authority ; they have none other : which availes 
them much : They are often made by fooles ; more often 
by men, who in hatred of equality, have want of equity; 
But ever by men, who are vaine and irresolute Authours. 
There is nothing so grossely and largely offending, nor so 
ordinarily wronging as the Lawes. Whosoever obeyeth 
them because they are just, obeyes them not justly the way 
as he ought. Our French lawes doe in some sort, by their 
irregularity and deformity, lend an helping hand unto the 
disorder and corruption, that is scene in their dispensation 
and execution. Their behest is so confused, and their com- 
mand so inconstant, that it in some sort excuseth, both the 
disobedience and the vice of the interpretation, of the ad- 
ministration and of the observation. Whatsoever then the 
fruit is we may have of Experience, the same which we 
draw from forraine examples, will hardly stead our institu- 
tion much ; if we reape so small profit from that wee have 
of our selves, which is most familiar unto us : and truely 
sufficient to instruct us of what we want. I study my selfe 
more than any other subject. It is my supernaturall Meta- 
phisike, it is my naturall Philosophy. 

Qua Deus hanc mundi temperet arte domum, 
Qua venit exoriens, qua deficit, unde coactis 
Cornibus in plenum menstrua luna redit: 
Unde salo superant venti, quid flamine captet 
Eurus, et in nuhes unde perennis cequa. 
Sit Ventura dies mundi qucB subruat arces. 

Propert. iii. El. iv. 26. 
This Worlds great house by what arte God doth guide ; 
From whence the monethly Moone doth rising ride, 
How wane, how with clos'd homes returne to pride, 
How winds on seas beare sway, what th' Easterne winde 
Would have, how still in clouds we water finde ; 
If this worlds Towers to rase a day be signde. 

Qucerite quos agitat mundi labor: 

AH this doe you enquire 

Whom this worlds travailes tyre. 

332 Montaigne's Essayes 

In this universality I suffer myselfe ignorantly and negli- 
gently to be managed by the general! law of the world. I 
shall sufficiently know it when I shall feele it. My learning 
cannot make her change her course : she will not diversifie 
her selfe for me ; it were folly to hope it : And greater folly 
for a man to trouble himselfe about it ; since it is necessarily 
semblable, publicke and common. The governours capacity 
and goodnesse, should throughly discharge us of the 
governments care. Philosophicall inquisitions and con- 
templations serve but as a nourishment unto our curiosity. 
\Mth great reason doe Philosophers addresse us unto 
natures rules : But they have nought to doe with so sublime 
a knowledge : They falsifie them, and present her to us 
with a painted face, too-high in colour and over-much 
sophisticated ; whence arise so many different pourtraits of 
so uniforme a subject. As she hath given us feete to goe 
withall, so hath she endowed us with wisedome to direct 
our life. A wisedome not so ingenious, sturdy and pomp- 
ous, as that of their invention ; but yet easie, quiet and 
salutairie. And that in him who hath the hap to know how 
to employ it orderly and sincerely, effecteth very well what 
the other saith : that is to say naturally. For a man to 
commit himselfe most simply unto nature, is to doe it most 
wisely. Oh how soft, hozu gentle, and how sound a pillow 
is ignorance and incuriosity to rest a well composed head 
upon. I had rather understand my selfe well in my selfe, 
then in Cicero. Out of the experience I have of my selfe, 
I finde sufficient ground to make my selfe wise, were I but 
a good proficient scholler. Whosoever shall commit to 
memory the excesse or inconvenience of his rage or anger 
past, and how farre that fit transported him, may see the 
deformity of that passion, better then in Aristotle, and 
conceive a more just hatred against it. Whosoever calleth 
to minde, the dangers he hath escaped, those which have 
threatned him, and the light occasions that have remooved 
him from one state to another state, doth thereby the better 
prepare himselfe to future alterations, and knowledge of his 
condition. Ccesars life hath no more examples for us, then 
our owne ; Both imperiall and popular ; it is ever a life that 
all humane accidents regard. Let us but give eare unto 
it, we recorde all that to us, that we principally stand in 
neede of. He that shall call to minde how often and how 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 333 

severall times he hath beene deceived, and mis-accompted 
his owne judgement : is he not a simple gull, if he doe not 
for ever afterward distrust the same? When by others 
reason, I finde my selfe convicted of a false opinion, I learne 
not so much, what new thing hee hath told me ; and this 
particular ignorance ; which were but a small purchase ; as 
in generall I learne mine owne imbecility and weakenesse^ 
and the treason of my understanding : whence I draw the 
reformation of all the masse. The like I doe in all my other 
errours : by which rule I apprehend and feele great profit 
for, and unto my life. I regarde not the species or indi- 
viduuin, as a stone whereon I have stumbled. I learne ' 
every where to feare my going, and endevour to order the 
same. To learne that another hath eyther spoken a foolish 
jest, or com^mitted a sottish act, is a thing of nothing. A 
man must learne, that he is but a foole : A much more 
ample and important instruction. The false steps my 
memory hath so often put upon me, at what time she stood 
most upon her selfe, have not idlely beene lost : she may 
sweare and warrant me long enough ; I shake mine eares 
at her : the first opposition made in witnesse of her, makes 
me suspect. And I durst not trust her in a matter of conse- 
quence; nor warrant her touching others affaires. And 
were it not, that what I doe for want of memory, others 
more often doe the same for lacke of faith, I would even in 
a matter of fact rather take the truth from anothers mouth, 
then from mine own. Would every man pry into the effects 
and circumstances of the passions that sway him, as I 
have done of that whereunto I was allotted ; he should see 
them comming; and would somewhat hinder their course 
and abate their impetuosity : They doe not alwayes sur- 
prise and take hold of us at the first brunt, there are 
certaine forethreatnings and degrees as forerunners. 

Fluctus uti primo ccepit cum albescere ponto^ 
Paulatim sese tollit mare, et altitis undas 
Erigit, inde imo consurgit ad cethera fundo. 

As when at sea, floods first in whitenesse rise, 

Sea surgeth softly, and then higher plies 

In waves, then from the ground mounts up to skies. 

Judgement holds in me a presidentiall seate, at least he 
carefully endevours to hold it : He suffers my appetits to 
keep their course, both hatred and love, yea and that I 

334 Montaigne's Essayes 

beare unto my selfe; without feeling alteration or corru 
lion. If he can not reforme other parts according to hi 
selfe, at least he will not be deformed by them : he keep 
his court apart. That warning-lesson given to all men, 
to know themselves f must necessarily be of important 
effect, since that God of wisedome, knowledge and light, 
caused the same to be fixed on the frontispice of his temple : 
as containing whatsoever he was to counsell us. Plato 
saith also, that wisedome is nothing but the execution of 
that ordinance : And Socrates doth distinctly verifie the 
same in Zenophon. Difficulties and obscurity are not per- 
ceived in every science, but by such as have entrance into 
them : For, some degree of intelligence is required, to be 
able to marke that one is ignorant : and wee must knocke 
at a gate, to know whether it bee shutte. Whence ensueth 
this Platonicall subtilty, that neyther those which know 
have no further to enquire ^ forsomuch as they know 
already: nor they that know not^ because to enquire, it is 
necessary they know what they enquire after. Even so in 
this, for a man to know himselfe : that every man is scene 
so resolute and satisfied, and thinks himselfe sufficiently 
instructed or skilfull, doth plainely signifie that no man 
understands any thing, as Socrates teacheth Euthydemus. 
My selfe, who professe nothing else, finde therein so bot- 
tomlesse a depth, and infinite variety, that my apprentisage 
hath no other fruit, than to make me perceive how much 
more there remaineth for me to learne. To mine owne 
weaknesse so often acknowledged, I owe this inclination 
which I beare unto modesty; to the obedience of belief es 
prescribed unto me; to a constant coldnesse and modera-1 
tion of opinions; and hatred of this importunate and i 
quarrellous arrogancy, wholy beleeving and trusting it 
selfe, a capitall enemy to discipline and verity. Doe but 
heare them sway and talke. The first fopperies they pro- 
pose, are in the stile, that Religions and Lawes are com- 
poseth in. Nihil est turpius quam cognitioni et prcEcep- 
tioni, assertionem approhationemque prcBCurrere (Cic. 
Acad. Quce. i. f.). Nothing is more absurd, than that 
avouching and allowayice should runne before knowledge 
and prcecept. Aristarchus saide, that in ancient times, 
there were scarse seven wise men found in the world : and 
in his time, hardly seven ignorant. Have not we more 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 335 

reason to say it in our dayes, than he had? Affirmation 
and selfe-conceity are manifest signes of foolishnesse. Some 
one, who a hundred times a day hath had the canvase and 
beene made a starke coxcombe, shall notwithstanding be 
seene to stand upon his Ergoes, and as presumptuously- 
resolute as before. You would say, he hath since some 
new minde and vigor of understanding infused into him. 
And that it betides him, as to that ancient childe of the 
Earth, who by his falling to the ground and touching his 
Mother, still gathered new strength and fresh courage. 

— ciii ciitn tetigere parentem, 
Jam dejecta vigent renovato robore mem&ra.— Antaeus. 

Whose failing limmes with strength renew 'd regrow, 
When they once touch his mother Earth below. 

Doth not this indocile, blocke-headed asse, thinke to 
reassume a new spirit, by undertaking a new disputation? 
It is by my experience I accuse humane ignorance, which 
(in mine opinion) is the surest part of the Worlds schoole. 
Those that will not conclude it in themselves, by so vaine 
an example as mine, or theirs, let them acknowledge it by 
Socrates, the Maister of Maisters. For the Philosopher 
Antisthenes , was wont to say to his Disciples : Come on 
my Maisters, let you and me goe to heare Socrates. There 
shall I be a fellow Disciple with you. And upholding this 
Doctrine of the Stoickes Sect, that only vertue sufficed to 
make a life ahsolutely-happy ; and having no need of any 
thing, but of Socrates his force and resolution, he added 
moreover : This long attention, I employ in considering 
my selfe, enableth me also to judge Indifferently of others : 
And there are few things whereof I speake more happily 
and excusably. It often fortuneth me to see and distin- 
guish more exactly the conditions of my friends, than them- 
selves do. I have astonied some by the pertinency of mine 
own description, and have warned him of himselfe. Be- 
cause I have from mine infancy enured my selfe to view 
mine owne life In others lives ; I have thereby acquired a 
studious complexion therein. And when I thinke on it, I 
suffer few things to escape about me, that may in any sort 
fit the same ; whether countenances, humour or discourses. 
I studiously consider all I am to eschew and all I ought to 
follow. So by my friends productions I discover their in- 

336 Montaigne's Essayes 

ward inclinations. Not to marshall or range this infinit 
variety of so divers and so distracted actions to certaine 
Genders or Chapters, and distinctly to distribute my parcels 
and divisions into formes and knowne regions. 

Sed neque qiiam niultce species, et nornina quce sint. 
Est Humerus. — ViRG. Georg. i. 103. 

But not how many kinds, nor what their names : 
There is a number of them (and their frames.) 

The wiser sort speake and declare their fantasies more 
speciall}^ and distinctly : But I, who have no further insight 
then I get from common use, without rule or methode, 
generally present mine owne, but gropingly. As in this : 
I pronounce my sentence by articles, loose and disjoynted : 
it is a thing cannot be spoken at once and at full. Relation 
and conformity are not easily found in such base and com- 
mon minds as ours. Wisedome is a solide and compleate 
frame; every severall piece whereof keepeth his due place 
and beareth his marke. Sola sapientia in se tota conversa 
est. Onely wisedome is wholy turned into it selfe. I leave 
it to Artists, and I wot not whether in a matter so confused, 
so severall and so casuall, they shall come to an end, to 
range into sides this infinit diversity of visages ; and settle 
our inconstancy and place it in order. I doe not onely 
find it difficult to combine our actions one unto another ; 
but take every one apart, it is hard, by any principall 
quality to desseigne the same properly : so double, so am- 
biguous and party-coloured are they to divers lusters. 
Which in Perseus the Macedonian King was noted for a 
rare matter, that his spirit fastning it selfe to no kinde of 
condition ; went wandring through every kinde of life : and 
representing so new-fangled and gadding maners, that 
he was neyther knowne of himselfe nor of others, what 
kinde of man he was : me thinkes may well-nigh agree and 
sute with all the world. And above all, I have scene some 
other of his coate or humour, to whom (as I suppose) this 
conclusion might also more properly be applied. No state 
of mediocrity being ever transported from one extreame to 
another, by indivinable occasions : no maner of course with- 
out crosse, and strange contrarieties : no faculty simple : 
so that the likeliest a man may one day conclude of him, 
shall be, that he affected and laboured to make himselfe 
knowne by being not to bee knowne. A man had neede of 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 337 

long-tough eaves, to heare himselfe freely judged. And 
because there be few that can endure to heare it without 
tingling- : those which adventure to undertake it with us, 
shew us a singular effect of true friendship. For, that is 
a truely perfect love, which to profit and doe good, feareth 
not to hurt or offend. I deeme it absurd, to censure him, 
in whom bad qualities exceede good conditions. Plato 
requireth three parts in him that will examine anothers 
minde : Learning, goodwill, and holdnesse. I was once 
demanded, what I would have thought my selfe fit-for, 
lad any beene disposed to make use of me, when my yeares 
ivould have fitted service : 

Dum melior vires sanguis dabat, ccmtda nee dum 
Temporibus geminis caiicbat sparsa senectiis. 

ViRG. /£n. V. 41 T- 
While better blood gave strength, nor envious old yeares 
Ore-laid with wrinclcled temples grew to hoary haires. 

[ answered, for nothing. And I willingly excuse my selfe 
;hat I can doe nothing which may enthrall me to others. 
But had my fortune made me a servant, I would have 
;old my maister all truths ; and, had he so willd it, con- 
:roled his maners : Not in grosse, by scholasticall lessons, 
vvhich I cannot doe : besides, I see no true reformation 
:o ensue in such as know them : but faire and softly and 
.vith every opportunity observing them ; and simply and 
laturally judging them distinctly by the eye. Making him 
directly to perceive, how and in what degree he is in the 
ommon opinion ; opposing my selfe against his flatterers 
nd sycophants. There is none of us, but would be worse 
hen Kings, if as they are, we were continually corrupted 
kvith that rascally kinde of people. But what? if Alexander 
hat mighty King and great Philosopher, could not beware 
3f them? I should have had sufficient fidelity, judgement 
and liberty for that. It would be a namelesse office, other- 
wise it should lose both effect and grace ; And is a part, 
vvhich cannot indifferently belong to all. For, truth it 
selfe, hath not the priviledge to he employed at all times 
irid in every kinde: Be her use never so noble, it hath his 
circumscriptions and limits. It often commeth to passe, 
the world standing as it doth, that truth is whispered into 
Princes eares, not onely without fruit, but hurtfuUy and 
therewithall unjustly. And no man shall make me beleeve, 

338 Montaigne's Essayes 

but that an hallowed admonition may bee viciously ap 
plied, and abusively employed : and that the interest of th( 
substance should not sometimes yeeld to the interest of th( 
forme. For such a purpose and mystery I would have ar 
unrepiningf man and one contented with his owne fortune 

Quod sit, esse vcJit, nihilque malit : 

Mart, x. Epig. xlvii. 12. 

V\'illing to be as him you see, 
Or rather nothing else to be : 

and borne of meane degree : Forsomuch as on the on< 
side, hee should not have cause to feare, lively and neerel) 
to touch his maisters heart, thereby not to lose the courst 
of his preferment : And on the other side, being- of a lo\\ 
condition, he should have more easie communication witl 
all sorts of people. \"\^hich I would have in one mar 
alone ; for, to empart the priviledge of such liberty anc 
familiarity unto many, would beget an hurtfull irrever- 
ence. Yea, and of that man, I would above all thing.' 
require trusty and assured silence. A King is not to bet 
credited, when for his glory, he boasteth of his constancy 
in attending his enemies encounter : if for his good amend- 
ment and profit, hee cannot endure tlie liberty of his friends 
words, which have no other working power, then to pinch 
his learning: the rest of their effect remaining in his ownc 
hands. Now, there is not any condition of men, that hatl 
more neede of true, sincerely-free and open hearted ad- 
vertisements, then Princes. They undergoe a publike life 
and must applaude the opinion of so many spectators, thai 
if they be once enured to have that concealed from them 
which divcrteth them from their course, they at unaware* 
and insensibly finde themselves deepely engaged in th( 
hatred and detestation of their subjects, many times foi 
occasions, which had they beene forewarned, and in time 
gently reformed, they might no doubt have eschewed, tc 
no interest or prejudice of their private delights. Favoriti 
doe commonly respect themselves more than their masters: 
And surely it toucheth their free-hold, forsomuch as ir 
good truth, the greatest part of true friendships-ofHces 
are towards their soveraigne in a crabbed and dangerous 
Essay. So that, there is not cnely required much affectior 
and liberty, but also an undanted courage. To conclude. 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 339 

ill this g^aliemafry which I huddle-up here, is but a register 
,)f my lives-Essayes : which in reg-ard of the internall health 
are sufficiently exemplary to take the instruction against 
:he haire. But concerning bodily health, no man is able to 
^ring more profitable experience, then my selfe ; who pre- 
sent the same pure, sincere, and in no sort corrupted or 
iltred, either by art or selfe-will'd opinion. Experience in 
ler owne precinct, may justly be compared to Physicke, 
anto which, reason giveth place. Tiberius was wont to 
say, that whosoever had lived twenty yeares, should be 
ible to ans7ver himselfe of all such things as were either 
wholesome or hurtfull for him, and know how to live and 
irder his body without Phisicke. Which he peradventure 
lad learned of Socrates ; who industriously advising his 
disciples (as a study of chiefe consequence) to study their 
lealth, told them moreover, that it was very hard, if a man 
Df understanding, heedfully observing his exercises, his 
ating and drinking, should not better then any Phisition 
discerne and distinguish such things as were either good 
3r bad or indifferent for him. Yet doth Physicke make 
Dpen profession alwayes to have experience for the touch- 
tone of her operation. And Plato had reason to say, that 
to be a good Physition, it were requisite, that he who 
hould undertake that profession, had past through all such 
iiseases as hee will adventure to cure, and knowne or felt 
ill the accidents and circumstances he is to judge of. It 
s reason, themselves should first have the pox, if they will 
know how to cure them in others. I should surely trust 
such a one better then any else. Others but guide us, as 
one who sitting in his chaire paints seas, rockes, shelves 
and havens upon a board, and makes the modell of a tall 
ship, to saile in all safety : But put him to it in earnest, 
he knowes not what to doe, nor where to begin. They 
make even such a description of our infirmities as doth a 
towne-crier, who crieth a lost horse, or dog, and describ- 
th his haire, his stature, his eares, with other markes and 
tokens, but bring either unto him, he knowes him not. 
Oh God, that physicke would one day affoord me some 
^ood and perceptible helpe, how earnestly would I exclaime, 

Tandem ejjicaci do manns scientice 

I yeeld, I yeeld at length, 

To knowledge of chiefe strength. 

340 Montaigne's Essayes 

The Arts that promise to keepe our body and minde in 
good health, promise much unto us; but therewith there is 
none pcrformeth Icsse what they promise. And in our 
dayes, such as make profession of these Arts amongst us, 
doe lesse then all others shew their effects. The most may 
be said of them, is, that they sell medicinable drugs; but 
that they are Physitians, no man can truly say it. I have 
lived long enough to yeeld an account of the usage that 
hath brought mee to this day. If any bee disposed to 
taste of it, as his taster I have given him as assay. Loe 
here some articles, digested as memory shall store me with 
them. I have no fashion, but hath varied according to 
accidents : I onely register those I have most beene ac- 
quainted with ; and hitherto possesse me most. My forme 
of life is ever alike, both in sicknesse and in health ; one 
same bed, the same hourcs, the same meate, the same 
drinke doth serve me. I adde nothing to them but the 
moderation of more or lesse, according to my strength or 
appetite. My health is to keepe my accustomed state free 
from care and trouble. I see that sicknesse doth on the 
one side in some sort divert me from it, and if I belecve 
Physitians, they on the other side will turne me from it : 
So that both by fortune and by art I am cleane out of my 
right bias. I beleeve nothing more certainely then this, 
that I cannot be offended by the use of things, which I 
have so long accustomed. It is in the hands of ciistome 
to give our life u^hat forme it pJeaseth: in that it can do 
all in all. It is the drinke of Circes, diversifieth our nature 
as she thinkes good. How many nations neere bordering 
upon us imagine the feare of the sereine or night-calme 
to be but a jest, which so apparantly doth blast and hurt 
us? and whereof our Mariners, our watermen, and our 
countrcy men make but a laughing-stocke? You make a 
Germane sicke, if you lay him upon a matteras, as you 
distemper an Italian upon a fetherbed, and a French man 
to lay him in a bed without curtaines, or lodge him in a 
chamber without a fire. A Spaniard can not well brookei 
to feede after our fashion, nor we endure to drinke as the 
Swizzers. A Germane pleased mc well at Augusta to raile 
against the commodity of our chimnies, using the same 
reasons or arguments, that wee ordinarily imploy in con- 
demning their stoves. For, to say truth, the same close- 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 341 

moothered heate, and the smell ofthat oft-heated matter, 
/hereof they are composed, fumeth in the heads of such 
s are not accustomed unto them ; not so with me. But 
n the other side, that heate being- equally dispersed, con- 
tant and universall, without flame or blazing, without 
moake, and without that wind which the tonnels of our 
|himnies bring- us, may many wayes be compared unto 
urs. Why doe we not imitate the Romanes architecture? 

It is reported that in ancient times they made no fire in 
[leir houses, but without and at the foote of them. : 
V^hence by tonnels, which were convaide through their 
hickest wals, and contrived neere and about all such 
(laces as they would have warmed ; so that the heat was 
onvaied into every part of the house. Which I have 
eene manifestly described in some place of Seneca, though 

can not well remember where. This Germane, hearing j 
le commend the beauties and commodities of this CityV 
which truely deserveth gj-reat commendation) beganne to 
Ity mee, because I was shortly to goe from it. And the 
rst inconvenience he urged me withall, was the heavinesse 
1 the head, which Chimnies in other places would cause 
le. He had heard some other body complaine of it, and 
herefore alleadged the same against me, being wont by 

istome to perceive it in such as came to him. All heat 
omming from fire doth weaken and dull me : Yet said 
'^venus, that fire was the best sauce of life. I rather allow 
nd embrace any other manner or w^ay to escape cold. 
Vee feare our Wines when they are low; whereas in Por- 
ugally the fume of it is counted delicious, and is the drinke 
)f Princes. ,To conclude, each severall Nation hath divers ^ 
ustomes, fashions and usages; which, to some others, 
re not onely unknowne and strange, but savage, bar- 
)arous and wondrous!; W^hat shall we doe unto that 
)eople, that admit no witnesse, except printed ; that will 
lot believe men, if not printed in Bookes, nor credit 
ruth, unlesse it be of competent age? We dignifie our 
"opperies, when we put them to the presse. It is another 
inanner of weight for him, to say, I have seene it, then if 
i^ou say, I have heard it reported. But I, who misbelieve 
^o more the mouth, than the hand of men ; and know that 
men write as indiscreetly as they speake unadvisedly ; and 
esteeme of this present age, as of another past ; alleadge 

342 Montaigne's Essayes 

as willingly a friend of mine as Aldus Gellius or MacrohiuSy 
and what my selfe have scene, as that they have written. 
And as they accompt vertue to be nothing greater by being 
longer, so deeme I truth to be nothing wiser by being 
more aged. I often say it is meere folly that makes us 
runne after strange and scholasticall examples. The fer- 
tility of them is now equall unto that of Homer and Platoes 
times. But is it not, that we rather seeke the honour of 
allegations, than the truth of discourses? As if it were 
more to borrow our proof es from out the shop of Vascosan 
or PJantin, then from that we dayly see in our village. Or 
verily that wee have not the wit to blanch, sift out or make 
that to prevaile, which passeth before us, and forcibly 
judge of it, to draw the same into example. For, if w^e 
say, that authority failes us, to adde credit unto our testi- 
mony, we speake from the purpose. Forsomuch as in 
my conceit, could we but finde out their true light. Natures 
greatest miracles and the most wonderfull examples, 
namely upon the subject of humane actions, may be drawne 
and formed from most ordinary, most common and most 
knowne things. Now concerning my subject, omitting the 
examples I know by bookes ; And that which Aristotle 
speaketh of Andron of Argos, that he would travell all over 
the scorching sands of Lybia, without drinking : A Gentle- 
man, who hath worthily acquitted himself e of many 
honourable charges, reported where I was, that in the 
parching heate of Summer, hee had travelled from Mad rill 
to Lisbone, without ever drinking. His age respected, he 
is in very good and healthy plight, and hath nothing extra- 
ordinary in the course or custome of his life, saving (as 
himselfe hath told me,) that he can very well continue two 
or three moneths, yea a whole yeere, without any manner' 
of beverage. He somtimes finds himselfe thirsty, but 
let's it passe; and holds, that it is an appetit, which will 
easily and of it selfe languish away : and if he drinke at 
any time, it is more for a caprice or humor, than for any 
need or pleasure. Loe here one of another key. It is 
not long since, that I found one of the wisest men of 
France, (among those of so meane fortune) studying hard 
in the corner of a great Hall, which for that purpose was 
hung about with tapistry, and round about him a dis- 
ordered rable of his servants, groomes and lackeis ; prat- 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 343 

ing, playing and hoyting- : who told me (as Sejieca in a 
iianner saith of himself e) that he learn 'd and profited much 
3y that hurly-burly or tintimare, as if beaten with that 
:onfused noyse, he did so much the better recall and close 
limselfe into himselfe for serious contemplation ; and that 
;he said tempestuous rumours did strike and repercusse his 
ihoughts inward. Whilst he was a scholler in Padua, his 
jtudy was ever placed so neere the jangling of bels, the 
ratling of coaches and rumbling tumults of the market 
ilace, that for the service of his study, he was faine, not 
3nely to frame and enure himselfe to contemne, but to 
nake good use of that turbulent noise. Socrates answered 
Alcibiades, who wondered how he could endure the con- 
:inuall tittle-tattle and uncessant scoulding of his Wife : 
iven as those who are accustomed to heare the ordinary 
creaking of the squeaking wheelcs of wells. My selfe am 
:leane contrary, for I have a tender braine, and easie to 
:ake snuffe in the nose, or to be transported : If my minde 
DC busie alone, the least stirring, yea the buzzing of a flie 
loth trouble and distemper the same. Seneca in his youth, 
laving earnestly undertaken to follow the example of 
Sextius, to feed on nothing that were taken dead : could 
ivith pleasure (as himselfe averreth) live so a whole yeere. 
.\nd left it, onely because he would not be suspected to 
3orrow this rule from some new religions, that instituted 
:he same. He therewithall followed some precepts of 
Attains, not to lie upon any kinde of carpets or bedding 
that would yeeld under one ; and untiil he grew very aged, 
le never used but such as they were very hard and un- 
^eelding to the body. What the custome of his da'yes 
makes him accompt rudenesse, ours makes us esteeme 
^vantonnesse. Behold the difference betweene my varlets 
life and mine : The Indians have nothing further from my 
"orme and strength. Well I wot, that I have heretofore 
taken boyes from begging, and that went roaguing up and 
down, to serve me ; hoping to doe some good upon them, 
tvho have within a very little while after left me, my fare 
and my livery ; onely that they might w ithout controule or 
phecke follow their former idle loytring life. One of which 
I found not long since gathering of muskles m a common 
sincke, for his dinner; whom (doe what I could) I was 
never able, neyther with entreaty to reclaime, nor by 

344 Montaigne's Essayes 

threatning- to withdraw, from the sweetnesse he found in 
want, and delight he felt in roaguing- lazinesse. Even 
vagabondine roagues, as well as rich men, have their mag- 
nificences and voluptuousnesse, and (as some say) their 
dignities, preheminences and politike orders. They are 
effects of custome and use : and what is bred in the hone, 
ivill never out of the flesh. Both which have power to 
enure and fashion us, not onely to what forme they please 
(therefore, say the wise, ought we to be addressed to the 
best, and it will immediately seeme easie unto us) but also 
to change and variation : Which is the noblest and most 
profitable of their apprentisages. The best of my corporall 
complexions, is, that I am flexible and little opiniative. 
I have certaine inclinations, more proper and ordinary, and 
more pleasing than others. But with small adoe and with- 
out compulsion, I can easily leave them and embrace the 
contrary. A yong man should trouble his rules, to stirre- 
up his vigor ; and take heed he suffer not the same to 
grow faint, sluggish or [reastie] : For, there is no course 
of life so weake and sottish, as that which is mannaged 
by Order, Methode and Discipline. 

Ad pHinum lapidem vectari cum placet, liora 
Suniittir ex Jibro, si prurit friciits ocelli 
Anguhus, inspecta genesi colly ria qiicerit. 

JuvEN. 5a/. vi. 477. 

List he to ride in coach but to Mile-end, 

By th' Almanacke he doth the houre attend : 

If his eye-corner itch, the remedy, / 

He fets from calculation of nativity. Y 

If he beleeve me, he shall often give himself e unto all 
manner of excesse : otherwise the least disorder wil utterly 
overthrow him ; and so make him unfit and unwelcome in 
all conversations. The most contrarie quality in an honest 
man, is nice-delicatenesse, and to bee tied to one certaine 
particular fashion. It is particular, if it be not supple and 
pliable. It is a kinde of reproch, through impuissance not' 
to d.oe or not to dare, what one seeth his other companions 
doe or dare. Let such men keepe their kitchin. It is 
undecent in all other men, but vitious and intolerable in 
one professing Armes : who (as Philopcemen said) should' 
fashion himselfe to all manner of inequality and diversity 
of life. Although I have (as much as might bee) beene 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 345 

inured to liberty, and fashioned to indifferency ; yet in 
growings ag-ed, I have through carelesnesse relied more 
upon certaine forms (my age is now exempted from insti- 
tution, and hath not any thing- else to looke unto, but to 
maintaine it selfe) which custome hath already, without 
thinking- on it, in certaine things so wel imprinted her 
character in me, that I deeme it a kind of excesse to leave 
them. And without long- practise, I can neither sleepe by 
day ; nor eate betweene meales ; nor breake my fast ; nor 
oe to bed without some entermission ; (as of three houres 
after supper) nor get children, but before I fall asleepe, 
and that never standing ; nor beare mine owne sweate ; 
nor quench my thirst, either with cleere water or wine 
alone ; nor continue long bare-headed ; nor have mine haire 
cut after dinner. And I could as hardly spare my gloves 
as my shirt : or forbeare washing of my hands, both in 
the morning and rising from the table ; or lye in a bed 
without a testerne and curtaines about it, as of most neces- 
sary things : I could dine without a table-cloth, but hardly 
without a cleane napkin, as Germans commonly doe. I 
foule and sully them more than either they or the Italians : 
and I seldome use eyther spoone or forke. I am sory we 
follow not a custome, which according to the example of 
Kings I have scene begunne by some ; that upon every 
course or change of dish, as we have shift of cleane trench- 
jers, so we might have change of cleane napkins. We 
read that that laborious souldler Marius, growing olde, 
grew more nicely delicate in his drinking, and would taste 
no drincke, except in a peculiar cuppe of his. As for me, 
I observe a kinde of like methode in glasses, and of one 
certaine forme, and drinke not willingly in a common- 
glasse, no more than of one ordinary hand : I mislike all 
manner of metall in regard of a bright transparent matter : 
let mine eyes also have taste of what I drinke according 
to their capacity. I am beholding to custome for many 
such nicenesses and singularities. Nature hath also on the 
other side bestowed this upon me, that I can not wel 
brooke two full meales in one day, without surcharging 
my [stomacke] ; nor the meere abstinence of one, without 
filling my selfe with winde, drying my mouth and dulling 
my appetite : And I doe finde great offence by a long 
sereine or night-calm. For some yeeres since, in the out- 
III 442 j^ 

346 Montaigne's Essayes 

roades or night-services that happen in times of warres, 
which many times continue all night, five or sixe houres 
after my stomacke beg-innes to qualme, my head feeleth a 
violent aking-, so that I can hardly hold-out till morning 
without vomiting. When others goe to breakefast, I goe 
to sleepe : and within a while after I shall be as fresh and 
jolly as before. I ever thought that the serein never fell, 
but in the shutting in of night, but having in these latter 
yeeres long time frequented very familiarly the conversa- 
tion of a Gentleman, possessed with this opinion, that it 
is more sharpe and dangerous about the declination of the 
Sunne, an houre or two before it set, which he carefully 
escheweth, and dispiseth that which falls at night : hee 
hath gone about to perswade and imprint into me, not 
onely his discourse, but also his conceit. What if the very 
doubt and inquisition, woundeth our imagination and 
[changeth] us? Such as altogether yeelde to these bend- 
ings, draw the whole ruine upon themselves. And I be- 
waile divers Gentlemen, who being young and in perfect 
health, have by the ignorant foolishnes of their Physitians 
brought themselves into consumptions and other lingering 
diseases ; and as it were in Physicks fetters. Were it not 
much better to be troubled with a rheume, than for ever 
through discustome, in an action of so great use and con- 
sequence, lose the commerce and conversation of common 
life? Oh yrkesome learning ! Oh Science full of molesta- 
tion ; that wasteth us the sweetest houres of the day. Let 
us extend our possession unto the utmost meanes. A man 
shall at last, in opinionating himselfe, harden and enure 
himselfe for it, and so correct his complexion : as did 
CcBsars the falling sicknesse, with contemning and corrupt- 
ing the same. A man should apply himselfe to the best 
rules, but not subject himselfe unto them : except to such 
(if any there be) that duty and thraldome unto them, be 
profitable. Both Kings and Philosophers obey nature, and 
goe to the stoole, and so doe Ladies : Publike lives are due 
unto ceremony : mine which is obscure and private, enjoy- 
eth all naturall dispensations. To be a Souldier and a 
Gascoyne, are qualities somwhat subject to indiscretion. 
And I am both. Therefore will I say thus much of this 
action ; that it is requisite we should remit the same unto 
certaine prescribed night-houres ; and bycustome(as I ha^■e 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 347 ^ 

jone) force and subject our selves unto it : But not (as I 
lave done) j^rowing in yeeres, strictly tie himselfe to the 
^are of a particular convenient place, and of a commodious 
\']ax or easie close-stoole for that purpose : and make it 
roublesome with long sitting and nice observation. Never- 
helesse in homeliest matters and fowlest offices, is it not 
n some sort excusable, to require more care and cleanli- 
lesse? Natura homo fuundum et elegans animal est (Sen. 
Epist. xcii.). By nature man is a cleanely and neate 

Of all naturall actions, there is none wherein I am more 
,oath to be troubled or interrupted, when I am at it. I 
lave scene divers great men and souldiers, much troubled 
and vexed with their bellies untune and disorder, when at 
jntimely houres it calleth upon them : whilst mine and my 
selfe never misse to call one upon another at our appoint- 
ment : which is, as soone as I get out of my bed, except 
some urgent business or violent sicknesse trouble me. 
Therefore (as I saide) I judge no place where sicke men 
may better seate themselves in security, then quietly and 
wisht to hold themselves in that course of life, wherein 
they have been brought up and habituated. Any change 
pr variation soever, astonieth and distempereth. Will any 
beleeve that Chestnuttes can hurt a Perigordin or a Lu- 
quois, or that milke or whit-meates are hurtful! unto a 
mountaine dwelling people? whom if one seeke to divert 
from their naturall diet, he shall not onely prescribe them 
a new, but a contrary forme of life : A change which 
healthy man can hardly endure. Appoint a Bretton of 
threescore yeeres of age to drinke water ; put a Sea-man 
or Mariner into a Stove ; forbid a lackey of Baske to walke : 
you bring them out of their element, you deprive them of 
all motion, and in the end, of aire, of light and life. 

— an vivere tanti est? 

Doe we reckon it so dcare, 

Onely living to be here? 

Cogimur d. suetis animum suspendere rebus; 
Atque ut vivamus, vivere desinimtis : 

Cor. Gal. El. i. 155. 
From things erst us'd we must suspend our minde, 
We leave to live that we may live by kinde. 

Hos suferesse reor quihus et spirabilis aer, 
Et lux quia regimur, redditur ipsa gravis. 

348 Montaigne's Essayes 

Doe I thinke they live longer, whom doth grieve 

Both aire they breathe, and light whereby they live : 

If they doe no other g^ood, at least they doe this, that 
betimes they prepare their patients unto death, by Uttle 
undermining- and cutting--oft" the use of Hfe. Both in health 
and in sicknesse, I have vvilling-ly seconded and given mji 
selfe over to those appetites that pressed me. I allow greati 
authority to my desires and propensions. I love not tc 
cure one evill by another mischiefe. I hate those remedies, 
that importune more then sicknesse. To be subject tc 
the cholike, and to be tied to abstaine from the pleasure 1 
have in eating- of oysters, are two mischiefes for one. The 
disease pincheth us on the one side, the rule on the other. 
Since we are ever in danger to misdoe, let us rather hazard 
our selves to follow pleasure. Most men doe contrary and 
thinke nothing profitable, that is not painefull : Facility is 
by them suspected. Mine appetite hath in divers things 
very happily accommodated and ranged it selfe to the 
health of my stomake. Being yong, acrimony and tart- 
nesse in sawces did greatly delight me, but my stomacke 
being since glutted therewith, my taste hath likewise 
seconded the same. Wine hurts the sicke; it is the first 
thing that with an invincible distaste, brings my mouth 
out of taste. Whatsoever I receive unwillingly or dis- 
tastefully hurts me, whereas nothing doth it whereon I 
feed with hunger and rellish. I never received harme by 
any action that was very pleasing unto me. And yet I 
have made all medicinall conclusions, largely to yeeld to 
my pleasures. And when I was yong, 

Quern circumcursans hue atque hue scepe Cupido 

FuJgcbat crocina spleudidus in tunica. 

Catul. El. iv. 131. 
About whom Cupid running here and there, 

Shinde in the saffron coate which he did weare. 

I have as licentiously and inconsiderately as any other,, 
f urthred al such desires as possessed me ; 

Et militavi non sine gloria. 

HOR. Car. iii. Od. xxvi. 2. 

A Souldier of loves hoast, j 

I was not without boast. 1 

More notwithstanding in continuation and holding out, 
then by snatches or by stealth. 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 349 

■ Sex mc vix memini sustinuisse vices. 

I scarse remember past 
Six courses I could last. 

It is surely a wonder accompanied with unhappinesse, to 
confesse how young and weake I was brought under it's 
subjection. Nay, sfiail I not blush to tell it? It was long 
before the age of choise or yeeres of discretion : I was so 
young, as I remember nothing before. And fitly may my 
fortune bee compared to that of Quartilla, who remembred 
not her maydenhead. 

Inde tragus celeresque pili, iniranddque matri 

Barha uiecr. 
Thence goatishnesse, haires over-scone a beard 
To make my mother vonder, and afear'd. 

Physitians commonly enfold and joyne their rules unto 
profit, according to the violence of sharpe desires or earn- 
est longings, that incidently follow the sicke. No long- 
ing desire can. be imagined so strange and vicious, but 
nature will apply herselfe unto it. And then how easie is 
it to content ones fantasie? In mine opinion, this part 
importeth all in all ; at least more and beyond all other. 
The most grievous and ordinary evils are those, which 
fancy chargeth us withall. That Spanish saying doth 
every way please me : Deffienda me Dios de my. God de- 
fend me from my selfe. Being sicke, I am sory I have not 
some desire may give me the contentment to satiate and 
cloy the same : Scarsly would a medicine divert me from 
it. So doe I when I am in health : I hardly see any thing 
left to be hoped or wished-for. It is pitty a man should 
bee so weakned and enlanguished, that he hath nothing 
left him but wishing. The art of Physicke is not so 
resolute, that whatsoever wee doe, we shall be void of all 
authority to doe it. Shee changeth and she varieth accord- 
ing to climats ; according to the Moones ; according to 
Fe melius; and according to Scala. If your Physitian 
thinke it not good that you sleepe, that you drinke wine, 
or eate such and such meates : Care not you for that ; I 
will finde you another that shall not be of his opinion. 
The diversity of physicall arguments and medicinall 
opinions, embraceth all manner of formes. I saw a miser- 
able sicke man, for the infinite desire he had to recover, 
ready to burst, yea and to die with thirst ; whom not long 


350 Montaigne's Essayes 

since another Physitian mocked, utterly condemning th« 
others counsell, as hurtfull for him. Had not hee bestowed 
his labour well? A man of that coate is lately dead of the 
stone, who durini^ the time of his sicknesse used extreame 
abstinence to withstand his evill ; his fellowes aflirme that 
contrary, his long- fasting had withered and dried him up, 
and so concocted the gravell in his kidnies. I have found, 
that in my hurts and other sicknesses, earnest talking dis- 
tempers and hurts me as much as any disorder I commit. 
My voice costs me deare, and wearieth me ; for I have it 
lowd, shrill and forced : So that, when I have had occa- 
sion to entertaine the eares of great men, about weight} 
affaires, I have often troubled them with care how tc 
moderate my voice. This story deserveth to be rcmem- 
bred and to divert me. A certaine man, in one of the, 
Greeke schooles spake very lowde, as I doe ; the maister uJ 
the ceremonies sent him word, he should speake lower : 
let him (quoth he) send me the tune or key in which he 
would have me speake. The other replied, that he shoulc 
take his tune from his eares to whom he spake. It was 
well said, so he understood himselfe : Speake according 
as you have to doe with your auditory. For if one say, lei 
it suffice that he heareth you; or governe your selfe b> 
him : I do not thinke he had reason to say so. The tune 
or motion of the voyce, hath some expression or signifi- 
cation of my meaning : It is in me to direct the same, that 
so I may the better represent my selfe. There is a voyce 
to instruct, one to flatter, and another to chide. I wil] 
not onely have my voyce come to him, but peradventure 
to wound and pierce him. When I brawle and rate my 
lackey, with a sharpe and piercing tune; were it fit he 
should come to me and say. Master, speake softly, I under- 
stand and heare you very well? Est quccdam vox ad 
auditum accommodata non magnitudine sed propHetate. 
There is a hinde of voyce well applied to the hearings noi\ 
by the greatnesse of it, but by the proprietie. The word- 
is halfe his that speaketh, and halfe his that harkeneth^ 
unto it. The hearer ought to prepare himselfe to the' 
motion or bound it taketh. As betweene those that play 
at tennis, he who keepes the hazard, doth prepare, stand, 
stirre and march, according as he perceives him who stands 
at the house, to looke, stand, remoove and strike the ball, 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 351 

ind according to the stroake. Experience hath also taught 
ne this, that we lose our selves with impatience. Evils 
have their life, their limits ; their diseases and their health. 
The constitution of diseases is framed by the patterne of 
:;;he constitution of living creatures. They have their 
fortune limited even at their birth, and their dayes allotted 
i:hem. He that shall imperiously goe about, or by com- 
Dulsion (contrary to their courses) to abridge them, doth 
engthen and multiply them ; and in stead of appeasing, 
ioth harsell and wring them. I am of Grantors opinion, 
hat a man must neither obstinately nor frantikely oppose 
limselfe against evils ; nor through demissenesse of 
;ourage faintingly yeeld unto them, but according to their 
condition and ours, naturally incline to them. A man 
nust give sickenesses their passage : And I finde that they 
►tay least with me, because I allovv^ them their swinge, and 
et them doe what they list. And contrary to comm.on 
received rules, I have without ayde or art ridde my selfe 
}i some, that are deemed the most obstinately lingring, 
ind unremoovably-obstinate. Let nature worke : Let hir 
lave hir will : She knoweth what she hath to doe, and 
nderstands hir selfe better then we do. But such a one 
lied of it, wil you say ; so shal you doubtlesse ; if not of 
hat, yet of some other disease. And how many have we 
>eene die when they have had a whole Colledge of Physi- 
ians round about their bed, and looking in their excre- 
ments? Example is a bright looking-glasse, universall 
jnd for all shapes to looke into. If it be a lushious or 
aste-pleasing potion, take it hardly ; it is ever so much 
Dresent ease. So it be delicious and sweetly tasting, I 
will never stand much upon the name or colour of it. 
Pleasure is one of the chiefest kinds of profit. I have 
uffered rheumes, gowty defluxions, [relaxations] pantings 
Df the heart, megreimes and other such-like accidents, to 
grow old in me, and die their naturall death; all which 
have left me, when I halfe enured and framed my selfe to 
foster them. They are better conjured by curtesie, then 
by bragging or threats. We must gently obey and endure 
the lawes of our condition: We are subject to grow aged, 
to become weake and to fall sicke, in spight of all physicke. 
It is the first lesson the Mexicans give their children ; 
^^'hen. they come out of their mothers wombes, they thus 

352 Montaigne's Essayes 

salute them : My childe, thou art come into the world to 
suffer; Therefore suffer and hold thy peace. It is injustice 
for one to grieve, that any thing hath befallen to any one ; 
which may happen to all men. Indignare si quid in- te 
inique proprie constitutuni est. Then take it ill, if any 
thing be decreed unjustly against thee alone. Looke on 
an aged man, who sueth unto God to maintaine him in 
perfect, full and vigorous health, that is to say, he will be 
pleased to make him yong againe : 

Stulte quid hcec frustra votis puerilibus optas? 

Ovid. Trist. iii. El. viii. ii. 

Foole, why dost thou in vaine desire, 
With childish prayers thus t' aspire? 

Is is not folly? his condition will not beare it. The gowt : 
the stone, the gravell and indigestion are symptomes or 
effects of long continued yeares ; as heats, raines and 
winds, are incident to long voyages. Plato cannot beleeve, 
that .ILscidapius troubled himselfe with good rules and diet 
to provide for the preservation of life, in a weake, wasted 
and corrupted body : being unprofitable for his country, 
inconvenient for his vocation, and unfit to get sound and 
sturdy Children : and deeme not that care [convenient] 
unto divine justice and heavenly Wisedome, which is to 
direct all things unto profit. My good sir, the matter is 
at an end : You cannot be recovered ; for the most, you 
can be but tampered withall, and somewhat under propt, 
and for some houres have your misery prolonged. 

Non secus instantem cttpiens fidcire riiinam 

Diversis contrd nitittir obicibiis, 
Donee certa dies omni compage soliitd 

Ipsum cum rebus subruat atixilium. 

Corn. Gal. EL clxxiii. 

So he that would an instant ruine stay 

With divers props strives it underlay. 
Till all the frame dissolv'd a certaine day, 

The props with th' edifice doth overs way. 

A man must learne to endure that patiently, which he 
cannot avoyde conveniently. Our life is composed, as is 
the harmony of the World, of contrary things; so of divers 
tunes, some pleasant, some harsh, some sharpe, some flat, 
some low and some high : What would that Musition say, 
that should love but some one of them? He ought to 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 353 

know how to use them severally and how to entermingle 
them. So should we both of goods and evils, which are 
consubstantiall to our life. Our being- cannot subsist with- 
out this commixture, whereto one side is no lesse necessary 
than the other. To goe about to kicke against natural 
necessity, were to represent the folly of Ctesiphon, who 
undertooke to strike or wince with his mule. I consult 
but little about the alterations which I f eele : For these 
kinde of men are advantagious, when they hold you at 
their mercy. They glut your eares with their Prognostica- 
tions, and surprising me heretofore, when by my sick- 
nesse I was brought very low and weake, they have in- 
juriously handled me with their Doctrines, positions, pre- 
scriptions, magistrall fopperies and prosopopeyall gravity; 
sometimes threatning me with great paine and smart, and 
other times menacing me with neere and unavoydable 
death : All which did indeede move, stirre and touch me 
neere, but could not dismay, or remoove me from my 
place or resolution : If my judgement be thereby neither 
changed nor troubled, it was at least hindred : It is ever 
in agitation and combating. Now I entreate my imagina- 
tion as gently as I can, and were it in my power I would 
cleane discharge it of all paine and contestation. A man 
must further, help, flatter and (if he can) cozen and deceive 
it. My spirit is fit for that office. There is no want of ap- 
parances every where. Did he perswade, as he preacheth, 
hee should successefully ayde me. Shall I give you an 
example? He tels me, it is for my good, that I am troubled 
with the gravell : That the compositions of my age, must 
naturally suffer some leake or flaw : It is time they begin 
to relent and gainesay themselves : It is a common neces- 
sity : And it had beene no new wonder for me. That way 
I pay the reward due unto age, and I could have no 
better reckoning of it. That such company ought to com- 
fort me, being fallen into the most ordinary accident inci- 
dent to men of my dayes. I every where see some afflicted 
with the same kinde of evill ; whose society is honourable 
unto mee, forsomuch as it commonly possesseth the better 
sort of men : and whose essence hath a certaine nobility 
and dignity connexed unto it : That of men tormented 
therev/ith, few are better cheape quit of it : and yet, it costs 
them the paine of a troublesome dyet, tedious regiment. 

354 Montaigne's Essayes I 

and daily loathsome taking of medicinall drugges and 
physicall potions : Whereas I meerely owe it to my good' 
fortune. For, some ordinary broths made of Eringos or 
Sea-Holme, and Burstvvort, which twice or thrice I have 
swallowed downe, at the request of some Ladies, who^ 
more kindely then my disease is unkind, off red me the I 
moity of theirs, have equally seemed unto me as easie to I 
take, as unprofitable in operation. They must pay a 
thousand vowes unto /Esculapius^ and as many crownes to 
their Physitian, for an easie profluvion or aboundant run- 
ning of gravell, which I often receive by the benefit of 
Nature. Let mee be in any company, the decency of my 
countenance is thereby nothing troubled : and I can hold 
my water full tenne houres, and if neede be, as long as 
any man that is in perfect health : The feare of this evill 
(saith he) did heretofore affright thee, when yet it was 
un'knowne to thee. The cries and despaire of those, who 
through their impatience exasperate the same ; bred a 
horror of it in thee. It is an evill that comes and fals 
into those limmes, by, and with which thou hast most 
offended : Thou art a man of conscience : 

Ouce venit indigne poena, dolenda venit. 

Ovid. Epist. v. 8. 
The paine that comes without desart, 
Comes to us with more griefe and smart. 

Consider but how milde the punishment is, in respect ofi 
others, and how favourable. Consider his slowenesse in 
comming : hee onely incommodeth that state and encom- 
breth that season of thy life, which (all things considered) 
is now become barren and lost, having as it were by way 
of composition given place unto the sensuall licenciousnesse 
and wanton pleasures of thy youth. The feare and pitty, 
men have of this evill, may serve thee as a cause of glory. 
A quality, whereof, if thy judgement be purified and thy 
discourse perfectly sound, thy friends doe notwithstanding 
discover some sparkes in thy complexion. It is some 
pleasure for a man to heare others say of him : Loe there 
a patterne of true fortitude : loe there a mirrour of match- 
lesse patience. Thou art se^ne to sweate with labour, to 
grow pale and wanne, to wax red, to quake and tremble, 
to cast and vomit blood, to endure strange contractions, to 
brooke convulsions, to trill downe brackish and great 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 355 

teares, to make thicke, muddy blacke, bloody and fearefull 
urine, or to have it stopt by some sliarpe or rugged stone, 
which pricketh and cruelly wringeth the necke of the yarde : 
entertaining in the meane while the by-standers with an 
ordinary and undanted countenance, by pawses jesting and 
by entermissions dallying with thy servants : keeping a 
rt in a continued discourse; with words now and then 
excusing thy griefe, and abating thy painefull sufferance. 
Dost thou remember those men of former ages, who to 
keep their vertue in breath and exercise, did with such 
greedinesse seeke after evils? Suppose Nature driveth 
and brings thee unto that glorious Schoole, into which 
thou hadst never come of thine owne accord and free will. 
If thou tell me, it is a dangerous and mortall evill : what 
others are not so? For, it is a kinde of physicall cousen- 
age, to except any, and so they goe [not] directly unto 
death : what matter is it, whether they goe by accident 
unto it; and easily slide on either hand, toward the way 
that leadeth us thereunto? But thou diest not because 
thou art sicke ; thou diest because thou art living. Death 
is able to kill thee without the helpe of any ^icknesse. 
Sicknesses have to some prolonged their death ; who have 
lived the longer, in asmuch as they imagined they were 
still dying. Seeing it is of wounds, as of diseases, that 
some are medicinall and wholesome. The chollike is often 
no lesse long-lived than you. Many are seene, in whom^ 
it hath continued even from their infancy unto their ex- 
treamest age, who had they not forsaken her company ; 
she was like to have assisted them further. You oftner kill 
her, than she doth you. And if she did present thee with 
the image of neer-imminent death, were it not a kinde 
office for a man of that age, to reduce it unto the cogita- 
tions of his end? And which is worse, thou hast no longer 
cause to bee cured : Thus and howsoever, common neces- 
sity calls for thee against the first day. Consider but how 
artificially and how mildely she brings thee in distaste with 
life, and out of liking with the world ; not forcing thee 
with a tyrannicall subjection, as infinit other diseases doe, 
wherewith thou seest old men possessed, which continually 
ihold them fettered and ensnared, and without release of 
weakenesse nor intermission of paines but by advertise- 
ments and instructions, reprised by intervalles : entermix- 

356 Montaigne's Essayes 

ing certaine pawses of rest, as if it were, to give thee 
meane, at thy ease, to meditate and repeate her lesson. 
To give thee leasure and abiHty to judge soundly, and like 
a man of a courage to take a resolution, she presents thee 
with the state of thy condition perfect, both in good and 
evill, and in one same day, sometimes a most pleasing, 
sometimes a most intolerable life. // thou embrace not 
death, at least thou shakest her by the hand once a moneth. 
Whereby thou hast more cause to hope, that she will one 
day surprise thee without threatning. And that being so 
often brought into the haven ; supposing to be still in thy 
accustomed state, one morning at unawares, both thy selfe 
and thy confidence shall be transported over. A man hath 
no reason to complaine against those diseases, which so 
equally divide time with health. I am beholding to 
Fortune, that she so often assailes mee with one same 
kinde of weapon : she by long use doth fashion and enure 
mee unto it, harden and habituate me thereunto : I now 
know within a little which way and how I shall be quit. 
For want of naturall memory I frame some of paper. And 
when some new symptome or accident commeth to my 
evill, I set it downe in writing : whence it proceedeth, 
that having now (in a manner) passed over and through 
all sorts of examples, if any astonishment threaten me ; 
running and turning over these my loose memorialles (as 
Sibyllaes leaves) I misse no more to finde to comfort me 
with some favourable prognostication in my former past 
experience. Custome doth also serve mee, to hope the 
better hereafter. For, the conduct of this distribution, 
having so long beene constituted, it is to be supposed that 
Nature will not change this course, and no other worse 
accident shall follow, then that I feele. Moreover, the 
condition of this disease is not ill seeming to my ready 
and sodaine complexion. When it but faintly assailes 
mee, it makes mee afraid, because it Is like to continue 
long : But naturally it hath certaine vigorous and violent 
excesses. It doth violently shake me for one or two 
dayes. My reines have continued a whole age without 
alteration, an other is now well-nigh come, that they have 
changed state. Evils as well as goods have their periods: 
this accident is happily come to his last. Age weakneth 
the heat of my stomacke : his digestion being thereby lesse 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 357 

perfect, hee sendeth this crude matter to my reines. Why 
may not, at a certaine revolution, the heat of my reines be 
hkevvise infeabled : so that they may no long^er putrifie my 
fleagme ; and Nature addresse her selfe to finde some other 
course of purgation? Yeares have evidently made me drie 
up certaine rheumes : And why not these excrements, that 
minister matter to the stone or gravell? But is there any 
thing- so pleasant, in respect of this sodaine change, when 
by an extreame paine, I come by the voyding of my stone, 
to recover, as from a lightning, the faire Sunne-shine of 
health ; so free and full, as it happeneth in our sodaine and 
most violent cholliks? Is there any thing in this paine 
suffered that may be counter poised to the sweet pleasure 
of so ready an amendment? By how much more health 
seemeth fairer unto me after sicknesse, so neere and so 
contiguous, that I may know them in presence one of 
another, in their richest ornaments ; wherein they attyre 
themselves avy, as it were confront and counterchecke one 
another : Even as the Stoickes say, that Vices were pro- 
fitably brought in; to give esteeme and make head unto 
vertue ; So may we with better reason and bold conjecture, 
afhrme, that Nature hath lent us griefe and paine, for the 
honour of pleasure and service of indolency. When 
Socrates (after he had his yrons or fetters taken from him) 
felt the pleasure or tickling of that itching, which their 
weight and rubbing had caused in his legges ; he rejoyced, 
to consider the neere affinity that was between paine and 
pleasure : how they combined together by a necessary 
bond ; so that at turnes they enter-engender and succeed 
one another : And [cryed] out to good jEsope, that he 
should from that consideration have taken a proper body 
unto a quaint fable. The worst I see in other diseases, is, 
that they are not so grievous in their effect, as in their 
issue. A man is a whole yeare to recover himselfe ; ever 
full of weakenesse, alwayes full of feare. 

There is so much hazard and so many degrees before 
one can be brought to safety, that hee is never at an end. 
Before you can leave off your coverchiefe and then your 
night-cap ; before you can brooke the ayre againe, or have 
leave to drinke Wine, or lye with your ^Mfe, or eate 
melons, it is much, if you fall not into some relapse or 
new misery. The gravell hath this priviledge, that it is 

358 Montaigne's Essayes 

cleane carried away. Whereas other maladies, leave ever 
some impression and alteration, which leaveth the body 
susceptible or undertaking of some new infirmity ; and they 
lend one an other their hands. Such are to be excused, 
as are contented with the possession they have over us, 
without extending- the same, and without introducing their 
sequel! : But curteous, kind and gracious are those, whose 
passage brings us some profitable consequence. Since I 
have had the stone chollike, I finde my selfe discharged 
of other accidents : more (as me thinks) then I was before, 
and never had ague since. I argue, that the extreame 
and frequent vomits I endure, purge mee ; and on the 
other side, the distastes and strange abstinences I tolerate, 
digest my offending humours : and Nature voydeth in 
these stones and gravell, whatsoever is superfluous and 
hurtfull in her. Let no man tell me, that it is a medicine 
too deere sold. For, what availe so many loathsome pils, 
stincking potions, cauterizings, incisions, sweatings, 
setons, dyets and so divers fashions of curing, which, 
because we are not able to undergoe their violence and 
brooke their importunity, doe often bring us unto our 
graves? And therefore, when I am surprised, I take it as 
physicke : and when I am free, I take it as a constant and 
full deliverance. Lo here an other particular favour of 
my disease, which is, that he in a manner, keepes his play 
a-part, and let's me keepe mine owne ; or else I want but 
courage to doe it : In his greatest emotion, I have held 
out tenne houres on Horse-backe with him. Doe but 
endure, you neede no other rule or regiment : Play, dally, 
dyne, runne, be gamesome, doe this, and if you can, doe 
the other thing, your disorder and debauching will rather 
availe then hurt it. Say thus much to one that hath the 
pox, or to one that hath the gowt, or to one that is belly- 
broken or cod-burst. Other infirmites have more univer- 
sal! bonds, torment farre-otherwise our actions, pervert all 
our order, and engage all the state of mans life unto their 
consideration : Whereas this doth only twitch and pinch 
the skin, it neyther medleth with your understanding, nor 
with your will, tongue, feete nor hands, but leaves them 
all in your disposition ; it rather rouzeth and awaketh 
you, then deterre and drouzy you. The mind is wounded 
by the burning of a feaver, suppressed by an Epilepsie, 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 359 

confounded by a migrane, and in conclusion, astonied and 
dismayed by all the diseases that touch or wound the whole 
masse of his body, and it's noblest parts : This never 
medleth with it. If therefore it go ill with it, his be the 
blame : she bewrayeth, she forsaketh and she displaceth 
her selfe. None but fools will be perswaded, that this 
hard, gretty and massie body, which is concocted and 
petrified in our kidneis, may be dissolved by drinks. And 
therefore after it is stirred, there is no way, but to give 
it passage ; For if you doe not, he will take it himselfe. 
This other peculiar commodity I observe, that it is an 
infirmity, wherein we have but little to divine. We are 
dispensed from the trouble, whereinto other maladies cast 
us, by the uncertainty of their causes, conditions and pro- 
gresses. A trouble infinitly painfull. We have no need 
of doctorall consultations, or collegiall interpretations. 
Our senses tell us where it is, and what it is. By, and 
with such arguments, forcible or weake (as Cicero doth 
the infirmity of his old-age) I endevour to lull asleepe, and 
study to ammuse my imagination, and supple or annoint 
her sores. If they grow worse to morrow ; to morrow we 
shall provide for new remedies or escapes. That this is 
true : loe afterward againe, haply the lightest motion 
wrings pure blood out of my reines. And what of that? 
I omit not to stirre as before, and with a youthfull and 
insolent heate ride after my hound. And find that I have 
great reason of so important an accident, which costs me 
but a deafe heavinesse and dombe alteration in that part. 
It is some great stone that wasteth and consumeth the 
substance of my kidneis and my life, which I avoyde by 
little and little : not without some naturall pleasure, as an 
excrement now superfluous and troublesome. And feele I 
something to shake? Expect not that I ammuse my selfe 
to feele my pulse, or looke into my urine, thereby to finde 
or take some tedious prevention. I shall come time 
enough to feele the smart, without lengthening the same 
iwith the paine of feare. Who feareth to suffer, suffereth 
already, because he feareth. 

Seeing the doubt and ignorance of those, who will and 
do meddle with expounding the drifts and shifts of nature, 
with her internall progresse ; and so many false prognosti- 
cations of their arte should make us understand her meanes 

360 Montaigne's Essayes 

infinitly unknowne. There is great uncertainty, variety 
and obscurity, in that shee promiseth and menaceth us. 
Except old-ag-e, which is an undoubted signe of deaths 
approching : of all other accidents, I see few signes of 
future thing-s, whereon we may ground our divination. I 
onely judge my selfe by true-feeling sense, and not by 
discourse : To w^hat end ? since I will adde nothing there- 
unto except attention and patience. Will you know what I 
gaine by it? Behold those who doe otherwise, and who 
depend on so many diverse perswasions and counsels ; 
how oft imagination presseth them without the body. I 
have divers times being in safety and free from all danger- 
ous accidents, taken pleasure to communicate them unto 
Physitions, as but then comming upon me. I endured the 
arrest or doome of their horrible conclusions, and remained 
so much the more bounden unto God for his grace, and 
better instructed of the vanity of this arte. Nothiti^r 
ought so much he recommended unto youth, as activity 
and vigilancy. Our life is nothing but motion, I am hardly 
shaken, and am slow in all things, be it to rise, to goe to 

bed, or to my meales. Seaven of the clocke in the morn- 
ing is to me an early houre : And where I may command, 
I neither dine before eleven, nor sup till after six. I have 
heretofore imputed the cause of agues or maladies, where- 
into I have falne, to the lumpish heavinesse or drowzy 
dulnesse, which, my long sleeping had caused me. And 
ever repented mee to fall asleepe againe in the morning. 
Plato condemnes more the excesse of sleeping, then the 
surfet of drinking. I love to lie hard and alone, yea and 
without a woman by me : after the kingly manner : some- 
what v/ell and warme covered. I never have my bed 
warmed ; but since I came to be an old man, if need require, 
I have clothes given me to warme my feete and my 
stomacke. Great Scipio v>-as taxed to bee a sluggard of 
heavy sleeper (in my conceit) for no other cause, but that 
men were offended, hee onely should bee the man, in 
whom no fault might justly bee found. If there be any 
curiosity in my behaviour or manner of life, it is rather 
about my going to bed, then any thing else; but if necde 

bee, I generally yeeld and accommodate my selfe unto 
necessity, as well and as quietly, as any other whosoever. 
Sleeping hath possessed a great part of my life : and as 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 361 

old as I am, I can sleepe eight or nine houres tog-ether. 
I doe with profit withdraw my selfe from this slugg-ish 
propension, and evidently finde my selfe better by it. In- 
deede I somewhat feele the stroke of alteration, but in 
three dayes it is past. And I see few that live with lesse 
(when need is) and that more constantly exercise them- 
selves, nor whom toyling- and labour offend lesse. My 
body is capable of a firme ag-itation, so it be not vehement 
and sodaine. I avoide violent exercises, and which induce 
mee to sweate : my limbs will sooner be wearied, then 
heated. I can stand a whole day long-, and am seldome 
weary with walking. Since my first age, I ever loved 
rather to ride then walke upon paved streets. Going a 
foote, I shall durty my selfe up to the waste: and little 
men, going alongst our streets, are subject (for want of 
presentiall apparence) to be justled or elbowed. I love to 
take my rest, be it sitting or lying-along, with my legs as 
high or higher then my seate. No profession or occupa- 
tion is more pleasing then the jLoililaxy ; A profession or 
exercise, both noble in execution (for the strongest, most 
generous and proivdest of all vertues, is true valour) and 
noble in it's cause. No utility, either more just or uni- 
versall then the protection of the repose, or defence of the 
gfreatnesse of ones country. The company and dayly con- 
versation of so many noble, young and active men, can- 
not but bee well-pleasing to you : the dayly and ordinary 
sight of so divers tragicall spectacles : the liberty and un- 
controled freedome of that artclesse and unaffected con- 
versation, masculine and ceremonilesse maner of life : the 
hourely variety of a thousand ever changing and differing 
actions : the couragious and minde stirring harmony of 
warlike musicke, which at once entertaineth with delight 
and enflameth with longing, both your eares and your 
minde : the imminent and matchlesse honour of that exer- 
cise : yea the very sharpnesse and difficulty of it, which 
Plato esteemeth so little, that in his imaginary common- 
iwealth, he imparteth the same both to women and to 
children. As a voluntary Souldier, or adventurous Knight 
you enter the lists, the bands or particular hazards, accord- 
ing as your selfe judge of their successes or importance : 
and you see when your life may therein be excusably 


362 Montaigne's Essayes 

Pulchriimque mori succurrit in armis. 

ViRG. /En. iii. 317. 
And nobly it doth come in minde, 
To die in armes may honor finde. 

Basely to feare common dangers, that concerne s 
numberlesse a multitude, and not to dare, what so many 
sorts of men dare, yea whole nations tog^ether, is onely 
incident to base, craven and milke-sop-hcarts. Company 
and good fellowship doth harten and encourage children. 
If some chance to exceed and out-goe you in knowledge, 
in experience, in grace, in strength, in fortune, you have 
third and collaterall causes to blame and take hold-of ; but 
to yeeld to them in constancy of minde, and resolution of 
courage, you have none but your selfe to find fault with. "^ 
Death is much more ahjectj languishing, grisly and paine- 
ful in a do7vne-bed, then in a jield-^omhate ; and agues, 
catarres or apoplexies, as painefull and mortall, as an 
harquehiisado. He that should be made undantedly to 
beare the accidents of common life, should not need to 
bumbast his courage, to become a man at armes. Vivere, 
mi Lucilli, militare est (Sen. Epist. xcvi, f.). Friend mine, 
to live is to goe on warre-jare. I cannot remember that 
ever I was scabbed : yet is itching one of natures sweetest 
gratifications, and as ready at hand. But repentance doth 
over-importunately attend on it. I exercise the same in 
mine eares (and by fits) which within doe often itch. I 
was borne with al my senses sound, almost in perfection. 
My stomacke is commodiously good ; and so is my head : 
both which, together with my winde, maintaine themselves 
athwart my agues. I have outlived that age, to which 
some nations have not without some reason prescribed 
for a just end unto life, that they allowed not a man to ex- 
ceede the same. I have notwithstanding some remyses or 
intermissions yet : though unconstant and short, so sound 
and neate, that there is little difference between them and 
the health and indolency of my youth. I speake not of 
youthly vigor and chearefull blithnesse ; there is no reason 
they should follow me beyond their limits : 

}Jon hcBC ampiius est liminis, aut oqucs 
Coelestis, patiens latus. 

HoR. Car. iii. Od. x. 15. r 

These sides cannot still sustaine *^ 

Lying without doores, showring raine. ' 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 363 

My visage and eyes doe presently discover me. Thence 
begin all my chang-es, and somewhat sharper then they 
are in effect. I often move my friends to pitty, ere I feele 
the cause of it. My looking glasse doth not amaze me : 
for even in my youth it hath divers times befalne me, so 
to put-on a dusky looke, a wan colour, a troubled behaviour 
and of ill presage, without any great accident; so that 
Physitions perceiving no inward cause to answer this out- 
ward alteration, ascribed the same to the secret minde or 
some concealed passion, which inwardly gnawed and con- 
sumed me. They were deceived ; were my body directly 
by me, as is my minde, we should march a little more at 
our ease. I had it then, not onely exempted from all 
trouble, but also full of satisfaction and blithenesse, as it 
is most commonly, partly by it's owne complexion, and 
partly by it's owne desseigne : 

Nee vitiant artus cegrcB contagia mentis. 

Ovid. Trist. iii. El. viii. 25. 
Nor doth sicke mindes infection, 
Pollute strong joynts complexion. 

I am of opinion, that this her temperature hath often 
raised my body from his fallings : he is often suppressed, 
whereas she, if not lasciviously wanton, at least in quiet 
and reposed estate. I had a quartan ague which held me 
foure or five moneths, and had altogether disvisaged and 
altered my countenance, yet my minde held ever out, not 
onely peaceably but pleasantly. So I feele no paine or 
smart; weakenesse and languishing doe not greatly per- 
plex me. I see divers corporall defailances, the onely 
naming of which breede a kinde of horror, and which I 
would Teare lesse then a thousand passions and agitations 
of the mind, which I see in use. I resolve to runne no 
more ; it sufiiceth me to goe-on faire and softly ; nor doe 
I complaine of their naturall decadence or empairing that 
possesseth me. 

Qttis tumidum guttur miratur in Aipibus ? 

JuvEN. Sat. xiii. 162. 
Who wonders a swolne throate to see, 
In those about the Alpes that be? 

No more, then I grieve that my continuance is not as 
long and sound, as that of an oake. I have no cause to 
finde fault with my imagination. I have in my life had 


364 Montaigne's Essayes 

very few thoughts or cares, that have so much as inter- 
rupted the course of my sleepe, except of desire to awaken 
without dismay or afflicting me. I seldome dreame, and 
when I doe, it is of extravagant things and chymeras ; 
commonly produced of pleasant conceits, rather ridiculous 
then sorrowfull. And thinke it true, that dreames are the 
true interpretors of our inclinations : but great skill is 
required to sort and understand them. 

Res quce invito usurpant homines, cogitant, ciirant, vident, 
Qucrque agunt vigilantes, agitantque ea sicutin somno accidunt 
Minus niiranduni est. 

It is no wonder if the things, which we 
Care-for, use, thinke, doe-oft, or waking see, 
Unto us sleeping represented be. 

Plato saith moreover, that is the office of wisedom.e to 
draw divining instructions from them, against future times. 
Wherein I see nothing but the wonderful! experience, that 
Socrates, Xenophon and Aristotle relate of them : men of 
unreproovable authority. Histories report, that the in- 
habitants of the Atlantique lies never dreame : who feed 
on nothing that hath beene slaine. Which I adde, because 
it is peradventure the occasion they dreame not. Pytha- 
goras ordained therefore a certaine methode of feeding, 
that dreames might be sorted of some purpose. Mine are 
tender, and cause no agitation of body or expression of 
voice in me. I have in my dayes scene many strangely 
stirred with them. Theon the Philosopher walked in 
dreaming ; and Pericles his boy, went upon the tiles and 
top of houses. I stand not much on nice choice of meates 
at the table : and commonly begin with the first and neer- 
est dish : and leape not willingly from one taste to another. 
Multitude of dishes, and variety of services displease me 
as much as any other throng. I am easily pleased with 
few messes, and hate the opinion of Favorinus, that at a 
banquet you must have that dish whereon you feed 
bungerly taken from you, and ever have a new one set in 
the place : And that it is a niggardly supper, if all the 
guests be not glutted with pinions and rumps of divers 
kinds of fowle : and that onely the dainty bird becoafico 
or snapfig deserveth to bee eaten whole at one morsell. 
I feede much upon salt cates, and love to have my bread 
somewhat fresh : And mine owne Baker makes none other 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 365 

for my bord ; against the fashion of my country. In my 
youth my overseers had much a doe to reforme the refusall 
I made of such meats as youth doth commonly love best ; 
as sweet meates, confets and marchpanes. My Tutor was 
wont to find great fault with my lothing of such dainties, 
as a kinde of squeamish delicacy. And to say truth, it is 
nothing but a difficulty of taste, where it once is applyed. 
Whosoever remooveth from a child a certaine particular 
or obstinate affection to browne bread, to bakon, or to 
garlike, taketh friandize from him. There are some, that 
make it a labour, and thinke it a patience to regret a good 
piece of powdred beefe, or a good gammon of bakon, 
amongst partridges. Are not they wise men in the meane 
time? It is the chief e dainty of all dainties : It is the taste 
of nice effeminate fortune, that wil be distasted with 
ordinary and usual things. Per quce luxuria divitiarum 
tcedio ludit. Whereby the lavishnesse of plenty playes with 
tedious pleasure. To forbeare to make good cheare, be- 
cause another doth it ; for one to have care of his feeding, 
is the essence of that vice. 

5t modica ccenare times olus otnne patella. 

HoR. i, Ef). V. 2. 

If in a sorry dish to sup 

You brooke not all th' hearbe pottage up. 

Indeede there is this difference, that it is better for one 
to tye his desires unto things easiest to be gotten, yet is it 
a vice to tie himselfe to any strictnesse. I was heretofore 
wont to name a kinsman of mine over delicate, because, 
whilest hee lived in our Gallies, he had unlearn 't and left 
to lie upon a bedde, and to strippe himselfe to goe to 
bedde. Had I any male-children, I should willingly wish 
them my fortune. That good Father, it pleased God to 
allot me (who hath nothing of mee but thankefulnesse for 
his goodnesse, which indeed, is as great as great may be) 
even from my cradle sent mee to be brought-up in a poore 
village of his, where he kept me so long as I suckt, and 
somewhat longer : breeding me after the meanest and 
simplest-common fashion : Magna pars lihertatis est bene 
moratus venter (Sen. Epist. cxxiii.). A mannerly belly is 
a great part of a mans liberty. Never take unto your 
selfe, and much lesse never give your wives the charge of 
your childrens breeding or education. Let fortune frame 

366 Montaigne's Essayes 

them under the popular and naturall Lawes : Let custome 
enure them to frugality, and breed them to hardnesse : 
That they may rather descend from sharpenesse, than 
ascend unto it. His conceipt aymed also at another end ; 
To acquaint and re-aly me with that people and condition 
of men that have most need of us : And thought I was 
rather bound to respect those which extend their armes 
unto me, than such as turne their backe toward me. And 
that was the reason he chose no other gossips to hold me 
at the font, than men of abject and base fortune, that so I 
might the more be bound and tied unto them. His pur- 
pose hath not altogether succeded ill. I willingly give and 
accost my selfe unto the meaner sort ; whether it be because 
there is more glory gotten by them, or through some 
naturall compassion, which in me is infinitely powerfull. 
The faction which I condemne in our civil! warres, I shall 
more sharpely condemne when it prospers and flourisheth. 
I shall in some sort be reconciled unto it, when I see it 
miserably-depressed and overwhelmed. Oh how willingly 
doe I remember that worthy humour of CheloniSy daughter 
and wife to King of Sparta. Whilest Cleombrotus her 
husband, in the tumultuous disorders of his City, had the 
upper hand of Leoriidas her father, she played the part of 
a good daughter : allying her selfe with her father, in his 
exile and in his misery, mainely opposing hir selfe against 
the Conquerour : Did fortune turne? So changed she hir 
minde, couragiously taking hir husbands part : Whom she 
never forsooke, whithersoever his ruine or distresse carry ed 
him. Having (in my seeming) no other choise, than to 
follow that side, where she might doe most good, where 
she was most wanted, and where she might shew her selfe 
most truely pittifull. I doe more naturally encline toward 
the example of Flamineus, who more and rather yeelded 
to such as had need of him, than to those who might doe 
him good : than I bend unto that of Pyrrhiis, who was ever 
wont, demissely to stoope and yeeld to the mighty, and 
insolently to grow proud over the weake. Long sitting at 
meales doth much weary and distemper me : for, be It for 
want of better countenance and entertainment, or that I 
used my selfe unto it when I was a child, I feede as long 
as I sitte at the table. And therefore, being in mine owne 
house, though my board be but short, and that wee use not ' 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 367 

to sit long, I doe not commonly sit downe with the first, 
but a prett-y while after others : According to the forme 
of Augustus : yet I imitate him not in his rising before 
others. Contrary, I love to sit a great while after, and to 
heare some discourse or table-talke. Alwayes provided I 
beare not a part my selfe ; for, if my belly bee full, I shall 
soone bee weary, and hurt my selfe with talking : and I 
finde the exercise of lovvde-speaking and contesting before 
meate very pleasant and wholesome. The ancient Grecians 
and Romanes had better reason than wee, allotting unto 
feeding, which is a principally action of mans life (if any 
other extraordinary businesse did not let or divert them 
from it) divers houres, and the best part of the night : 
eating and drinking more leisurely than we doe, who passe 
and runne-over all our actions in post-haste : and extend- 
ing this naturall pleasure unto more leisure and use : 
entermixing therewith divers profitable and mind-pleasing 
offices of civill conversation. Such as have care of me, 
may easily steale from me what soever they imagine may 
be hurtfull for me : in asmuch as about my feeding, I never 
desire or find fa^lt with that I see not : That Proverb is 
verified in me;,' What eye seeth not, the heart rueth not.) 
But if a dish or any thing else be once set before me, they 
lose their labour, that goe about to tell me of abstinence : 
so that, when I am disposed to fast I must be sequestred 
from eaters, and have no more set before me, than may 
serve for a stinted and regular collation : for if I but sit 
downe at a set table, I forget my resolution. If I chance 
to bidde my cooke change the dressing of some kinde of 
meate or dish, all my men know, I inferre my appetit is 
wallowish and my stomacke out of order, and I shall hardly 
touch it. I love all manner of flesh or fowle but greene 
rosted a-nd raw sodden, namely, such as may beare it with- 
out danger ; and love to have them throughly mortified ; 
and in divers of them the very alteration of their smell. 
Onely hardnesse or toughnesse of meate doth generally 
molest me (of all other qualities, I am as carelesse, and 
can as well brooke them, as any man that ever I knew) so 
that (contrary to received opinion) even amongst fishes, I 
shall finde some, both too new and over-hard and firme. 
It is not the fault or want of teeth, which I ever had as 
perfectly-sound and compleate as any other man : and 

368 Montaigne's Essayes 

which but now, being so olde, beginne to threaten me. I 
have from my infancy learn 'd to rubbe them with my nap- 
kin, both in the morning when I rise, and sitting down and 
rising from the table. God doth them a grace, from whom 
by little and little he doth substract their life. It is the 
onely benefit of old age. Their last death shall be so much 
the lesse full, languishing and painefull : it shall then kill 
but one halfe or a quarter of a man. Even now I lost one 
of my teeth, which of it selfe fell out, without strugling or 
paine : it was the naturall terme of it's continuance. That 
part of my being, with divers others, are already dead and 
mortified in mee, others of the most active, halfe dead, and 
which, during the vigor of my age held the first ranke. 
Thus I sinke and scape from my selfe. What foolishnes 
will it be in my understanding, to feele the start of that 
fall, already so advanced, as it were perfectly whole? I 
hope it not ; verely I receive a speciall comfort in thinking 
on my death, and that it shall be of the most just and 
naturall : and cannot now require or hope other favor of 
destiny, concerning that, then unlawfull. Men perswade 
themselves, that as heretofore they have had a higher 
stature, so their lives were longer ; But they are deceived : 
for Solon, of those ancient times, though he were of an 
exceeding high stature, his life continued but 70. yeeres. 
Shal I, that have so much and so universally adored, that 
aptcrrov ficTpov a tneane is best, of former times : and have 
ever taken a meane measure for the most perfect, therefore 
pretend a most prodigious and unmeasurable life? whatso- 
ever commeth contrary to Natures course, may be comber- 
some, but what comes according to her, should ever please. 
Omnia qiice secundum naturam fiunt, sunt hahenda in 
bonis. All things are to be accompted good, that are done 
according to nature. And therfore (saith Plato) is that 
death violent, which is caused either by wounds or sick- 
nesses ; but that of all others the easiest and in some sort 
delitious, which surprizeth us by meanes of age. Vitara 
adolescentibus vis aufert, senibus maturitas. A forcible 
violence takes their life from the young, but a ripe maturity 
from the old. Death entermedleth, and every where con- 
founds it selfe with our life : declination doth preoccupate 
her houre, and insinuate it selfe in the very course of our 
advancement : I have pictures of mme owne, that were 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 369 

drawne when I was five and twenty, and others being- 
thirty yeeres of age, which I often compare with such as 
were made by me, as I am now at this instant. How many 
times doe I say, I am no more my selfe ; how much is my 
present image further from those, then from that of my 
decease? It is an over-great abuse unto nature to dragge 
and hurry her so farre, that she must be forced to give 
ius over; and abandon our conduct, our eyes, our teeth, 
our legges and the rest, to the mercy of a forraine help 
and begged assistance : and to put our selves into the 
hands of art, weary to follow us. 1 1 am not overmuch or 
greedily desirous of sallets or of fruits, except melons. 
My father hated all manner of sawces ; I love them all. 
Overmuch eating doth hurt and distemper me r^but for the 
quality I have yet no certaine knowledge that any meate 
affends me : I never observe either a full or waned Moone, 
nor make a difference betweene the Spring time or 
/Vutumne. There are certaine inconstant and unknowne 
motions in us. For (by way of example) I have hereto- 
fore found redish-rootes to be very good for mee, then 
very hurtful!, and now againe very well agreeing with my 
stomacke. In divers other things, I feele my appetit to 
change, and my stomacke to diversifie from time to time. 
I have altred my course of drinking, sometimes from white 
to claret wine, and then from claret to white againe. 

I am very friand and gluttonous of fish ; and keepe my 

hroving dayes upon fish dayes ; and my feasts upon 
fasting-dayes. I believe as some others doe, that fish is 
of lighter disgestion than flegh. As I make it a conscience 
to eate flesh upon a fish day, so doth my taste to eate fish 
and flesh together. The diversity betweene them, seemes 

o mee over-distant. Even from my youth I was wont nov/ 

md then to steale some repast, either that I might sharpen 
my stomake against the next day ; (for, as Epicurus was 
wont to fast, and made but sparing meales, thereby to 
accustome his voluptuousnesse, to neglect plenty : I, con- 

rary to him to enure my sensuality to speede the better, 
and more merrily to make use of plenty) or else I fasted, 
the better to maintaine my vigor for the service or perform- 
ance of some bodily or mentall action : for both are 
strangely dulled and ideled in me, through over-much ful- 
pesse and repleatenesse. (x\nd above all, I hate that fool- 


370 Montaigne's Essayes 

ish combination, of so sound and bucksome a Goddesse, 
with that indigfested and belching God all puffed with the 
fume of his liquor) or to recover my crazed stomake, or 
because I wanted some good company. And I say as 
Epicurus said, that A man should not so much respect what 
he eateth, as with whom he eateth. And commend Chilon; 
that he would not promise to come to Perianders feast, 
before he knew certainely who were the other bidden 
guests. No viands are so sweetly pleasing, no sauce so 
tastefully as that which is drawne from conversable and 
mutuall society. I thinke it wholesome to eate more 
leisurely, and lesse in [quantity], and to feede oftner : But 
I will have appetit and hunger to be endeared : I should 
finde no pleasure, after a phisicall maner, to swallow three 
or foure forced and spare meales a day. Who can assure 
me, if I have a good taste or stomacke in the morning, 
that I shall have it againe at supper. Let us old men : let 
us, I say, take the first convenient time that commeth : 
Let us leave hopes and prognostikes unto Almanacke- 
makers. The extreame fruit of my health, is pleasure : 
Let us hold fast on the present, and to us knowne. I 
eschew constancy in these Lawes of fasting. Who so will 
have a forme to serve him, let him avoyd continuance of 
it : but we harden our selves unto it, and thereunto v^^holy 
apply our forces : sixe moneths after, you shall finde your 
stomacke so enured unto it, that you shall have gotten 
nothing but this, to have lost the liberty to use it other- 
wise without domage. I use to goe with my legges and 
thighs no more covered in Sommer than in Winter ; for I 
never weare but one paire of single silke stockins. For the 
easing of my rhume and helpe of my choilike, I have of 
late used to keepe my head and belly warme. My infirmi- 
ties did in few dayes habituate themselves thereunto, and 
disdained my ordinary provisions : From a single night- 
cappe, I came to a double coverchef, and from a bonnet, 
to a lined and quilted hat. The bumbasting of my doublet, 
serves me now for no more use then a stomacher :. it is a 
thing of nothing, unlesse I adde a hare or a vultures skin 
to it; and some warme wrapping about my head. Follow 
this gradation and you shall goe a faire pace. I will do no 
such thing. If I durst I could find in my hart to revoke 
the beginning I have given unto it. Fall you into any new 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 371 

Inconvenience? This reformation will no longer availe 
you. You are so accustomed unto it, that you are driven 
to seeke some new one. So are they overthrowne, that 
suffer themselves with forced formalities or strict rules, to 
be intang-led, and do superstitiously constraine themselves 
unto them : they have need of more, and of more after that : 
they never come to an end. It is much more commodious 
both for our businesse and for our pleasure (as did our 
forefathers) to lose our dinner, and deferre making of good 
cheere, unto the houre of withdrawing and of rest, without 
interrupting the day : So was I wont to doe heretofore. 
I have for my health found out since by experience, that on 
the contrary, it is better to dine, and that one shall digest 
better being awake. Whether I be in health or in sick- 
nesse, I am not much subject to be thirsty : indeede my 
mouth is somewhat dry, but without thirst. And com- 
monly I use not to drinke, but when with eating I am 
forced to desire it, and that is when I have eaten well. For 
a man of an ordinary stature I drinke indifferent much. 
In Sommer, and at an hungry meale, I not onely exceede 
the limits of Augustus , who drunke but precisely three 
times : but, not to offend the rule of Democritus, who for- 
pade us to stay at foure, as an unlucky number; if need 
be, I come to five : Three demisextiers, or thereabouts. I 
like little glasses best ; and I love to empty my glasse : 
which some others dislike, as a thing unseemely. Some- 
times, and that very often, I temper my wine one halfe, 
and many times three parts with water. And when I am 
in mine owne house, from an antient custome, which my 
fathers Physitian ordained both for him, and himselfe, looke 
what quantity of Wine is thought will serve mee a meale, 
the same is commonly tempered two or three houres before 
it be served in, and so kept in the celler. It is reported 
that Cranaus King of the x\thenians, was the first, that 
invented the mingling of Wine with Water. Whether it 
were profitable or no, I will not now dispute or stand upon. 
I thinke it more decent and more wholesome, that children 
should drinke no Wine, untill they be past the age of six- 
teene or eighteene yeares. The most usuall and common 
forme of life^is the best: Each particularity, doth in mine 
opinion impugne it. And I should as much detest a Ger- 
mane, that should put Water in his Wine, as a French- 

372 Montaigne's Essayes 

man, that should drinke it pure. Publike custome giveth 
Law unto such things. I feare a foggy and thicke ayre, 
and shunne smoke more than death ; (the first thing I be- , 
gan to repaire when I came to be maister of mine owne 
house, was the chimnies and privies, which, in most of our ■ 
buildings, is a generall and intollerable fault) and [among] 
mischiefes and difficulties attending on Warre, there is 
none I hate more, than in hot-sweltring wether, to ride up 
and downe all the day long in smoky dust, as many times 
our Souldiers are faine to doe. I have a free and easie 
respiration, and doe most commonly passe over my murres 
and colds without offence to my lungs, or v/ithout cough- 
ing. The soultry heate of sommer is more offensive to 
me, than the sharpnesse of Winter : for. Besides the incom- 
modity of heat, which is lesse to bee remedied, than the 
inconvenience of cold ; and besides the force of the Sunnes 
beames, which strike into the head, mine eyes are much 
offended with any kinde of glittring or sparkling light ; so 
that I cannot \yell sit at dinner over against a cleare-burn- 
ing fire. To allay or dim the whitenesse of paper, when I 
was most given to reading, I was wont to lay a piece of 
greene glasse upon my booke, and was thereby much eased. 
Hitherto I never used spectacles, nor know not what they 
meane ; and can yet see as farre as ever I could, and as 
any other man ; true it is, that when night comes, I begin 
to perceive a dimnes and weakenesse in reading ; the con- 
tinuall exercise whereof, and specially by night, was ever 
somewhat troublesome unto mine eyes. Loe here a steppe- 
backe, and that very sensible. I shall recoyle [one] m.ore, 
from a second to a third, and from a third to a fourth, so 
gently, that before I feele the declination and age of my 
sight, I must be starke blinde. So artificially doe the Fates 
untwist our lives-threede. Yet am I in doubt, that my 
hearing is about to become thicke : and you shall see, that 
I shall have lost it halfe, when yet I shall finde fault with 
their voyces that speake unto me. The minde must be 
strained to a high pitch, to make it perceive how it de- 
clineth. My going is yet very nimble, quicke and stout; 
and I wot not which of the two I can more hardly stay 
at one instant, eyther my minde or my body. I must like 
that preacher well, that can tie mine attention to a whole 
sermon. In places of ceremonies, where every man doth 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 373 

so nicely stand upon countenance, where I have scene 
Ladies hold their eyes so steady, I could never so hold out, 
but some part of mine would ever be g^adding- : although 
I be sitting- there, I am not well settled. As Chrysippus 
the Phylosophers chamber-maide, saide of hir Master, that 
he was never drunke but in his leg-ges ; for whersoever he 
sate, he was ever accustomed to be wagging with them : 
and this she saide at what time store of Wine had made his 
companions cuppe-shotten, and yet he felt no alteration but 
continued sober in minde. It might likewise have beene 
said of me, that even from mine infancy, I had either folly 
or quicke-silver in my feete, so much stirring and naturall 
inconstancy have I in them, where ever I place them. It 
is unmannerlinesse, and prejudicial! unto health, yea and 
to pleasure also, to feede grosely and greedily, as I doe. 
I shall sometimes through haste bite my tongue and fingers 
ends. Diogenes meeting with a childe, that did eate so, 
gave his tutor a whirret on the eare. There were men in 
I^oiiie, that as others teach youth to go with a good grace, 
so they taught men to chew, with decency. I doe some- 
times lose the leisure to speake, whFch is so pleasing- an 
entertainment at the table, provided they be discourses 
ihort, witty and pleasant. There is a kinde of jelousie and 
mvy betweene our pleasures, and they often shocke and 
hinder one another. Alcibiades, a man very exquisitely- 
^kilfull in making- good cheere, inhibited all manner of 
biusicke at tables, because it should not hinder the delig-ht 
3f discourses, for the reason which Plato affords him : that 
t is a custome of popular or base men to call for minstrels 
br singers at feasts, and an argument, they want witty or 
g-ood discourses, and pleasing- entertainement, wherewith 
men of conceipt and understanding- know how to enterfeast 
and entertaine themselves. Varro requireth this at a 
banket : an assembly of persons, faire, goodly and hand- 
Some of presence, affable and delightfull in conversation, 
which must not be dumbe nor dull, sullaine nor slovenly : 

leanlinesse and neatnesse in meates : and faire wether. A 
good minde-pleasing- table-entertainement, is not a little 

oluptuous feast, nor a meanly artificiall banquet. Neither 
bfreat or sterna commanders in Warres, nor famous or 
strict Philosophers have disdained the use or knowledge of 
t. My imagination hath bequeathed three of them to the 

374 Montaigne's Essayes 

keeping of my memory, onely which, fortune did at severall 
times, yecid exceedingly dehghtsome unto me. My present 
state doth now exclude me from them. For, every one, 
according to the good temper of body or mind, wiierein he 
finds himselfe, addeth either principall grace or taste unto 
them. My selfe who but grovell on the ground, hate that 
kinde of humane Wisedome, which would make us dis- 
dainefull and enemies of the bodies reformation. I deeme 
it an equall injustice, either to take naturall sensualities 
against the hart, or to take them too neere the hart. 
Xerxes was a ninny-hammer, who enwrapped and given to 
all humane voluptuousnesse, proposed rewards for those, 
that should devise such as he had never heard of. And 
hee is not much behinde him in sottishnesse that goes about 
to abridge those, which nature hath devised for him. One 
should neither follow nor avoyd them : but receive them. 
I receive them somewhat more amply and graciously, and 
rather am contented to follow naturall inclination. We 
need not exaggerate their inanity : it will sufiiciently be 
felt, and doth sufficiently produce it selfe. Godamercy our 
weake, crazed and jdy-diminishing spirit, v/hich makes us 
distaste both them and himselfe. Hee treateth both him- 
selfe and whatsoever hee receiveth sometimes forward and 
other times backeward, according as himselfe is either in- 
saciate, vagabond, new fangled or variable. 

Sincernm est nisi vas, quodcunquc ; infundis acescit. 

HOR. i. Epistle ii. 54. 
In no sweete vessell all you poure, 
In such a vessell soone will sowre. 

My selfe, who brag so curiously to embrace and particu- 
larly to allow the commodities of life ; whensoever I looke 
precisely into it I finde nothing therein but winde. But 
what? we are nothing but winde. And the very winde also, 
more wisely then we loveth to bluster and to be in agita- 
tion : And is pleased with his owne offices, without desiring 
stability or solidity; qualities that be not his owne. The 
meere pleasures of imagination, as well as displeasure (say 
some) are the greatest : as the ballance of Critolaus did 
expresse. It is no wonder, she composeth them at her 
pleasure, and cuts them out of the whole cloath. I see 
dayly some notable presidents of it, and pcradventure to 
be desired. But I, that am of a commixt condition, homely 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 375 

and plaine, cannot so throughly bite on that onely and so 
simple object : but shall grosely and carelesly give my selfe 
over to the present delights, of the generall and humane 
law, intellectually sensible, and sensibly-intellectuall. The 
Cirenaique Philosophers are of opinion, that as grief es, so 
corporall pleasures are more powerfull ; and as double, so, 
more just. There are some (as Aristotle saith) who with a 
savage kinde of stupidity, will seeme distastefull or squem- 
ish of them. Some others I know, that doe it out of 
ambition. Why renounce they not also breathing? why 
live they not of their own, and refuse light, because it com- 
meth of gratuity : and costs them neither invention nor 
vigor? That MarSy or Pallas^ or Mercurie, should nourish 
them to see, instead of CereSy Venus, or Bacchus? Will 
they not seeke for the quadrature of the circle, even upon 
their wives ? I hate that we should be commanded to have 
our minds in the clouds, whilst our bodies are sitting at 
the table ; yet would I not have the minde to be fastned 
thereunto, nor wallow upon it, nor lie along thereon, but 
to apply it selfe and sit at it. Aristippus defended but the 
body, as if wee had no soule : Zeno embraced but the soule, 
as if we had no body. Both viciously. Pythagoras (say 
jthey) hath followed a Philosophic, all in contemplation : 
Socrates altogether in manners and in action : Plato hath 
found a mediocrity between both. But they say so by way 
of discourse. For, the true temperature is found in 
Socrates; and Plato, is more Socratical then Pythagorical, 
and it becomes him best. When I dance, I dance ; and 
when I sleepe, I sleepe. And when I am solitarie walking 
in a faire orchard, if my thoughts have a while entertained 
themselves with strange occurrences, I doe another while 
bring them to walke with mee in the orchard, and to be 
partakers of the pleasure of that solitarinesse and of my 
selfe. Nature hath like a kinde mother observed this, that 
such actions as shee for our necessities hath enjoyned unto 
us, should also be voluptuous unto us. And doth not onely 
by reason but also by appetite envite us unto them : it were 
injustice to corrupt her rules. When I behold Ccesar and 
Alexander in the thickest of their wondrous great labours, 
so absolutely to enjoy humane and corporall pleasures, I 
say not, that they release thereby their minde, but rather 
trengthen the same ; submitting by vigor of courage their 

376 Montaigne's Essayes 

violent occupation, and laborious thoui^hts to the custo- 
mary use of ordinary life. Wise had they beene, had they 
beleeved, that that was their ordinary vocation, and this 
their extraordinary. What egregious fooles are we? Hee 
hath past his life in idlenesse, say we ; alas I have done 
nothing this day. What? have you not lived? It is not 
oneiy the fundamental!, but the noblest of your occupa- 
tion. Had I beene placed or thought fit for the managing 
of great affaires, I would have shewed what I could have 
performed. Have you knowen how to meditate and 
manage your life? you have accomplished the greatest 
worke of all. For a man to shew and exploit himselfe, 
nature hath no neede of fortune, she equally shewes her- 
selfe upon all grounds, in all sutes, before and behinde, 
as it were without curteines, welt or gard. Have you 
knowne how to compose your manners? you have done 
more then he who hath composed hookes. Have you 
knowne how to take rest? you have done more then he, 
who hath taken Empires and Citties. The glorious master- 
piece of man, is y to live to the [purpose] : All other things, as 
to raigne, to governe, to hoard up treasure, to thrive and 
to build, are for the most part but appendixes and supports 
therunto. It is to thee a great pleasure, to see a Generall 
of an armie at the foote of a breach, which ere long in- 
tendeth, to charge or enter? all whole, undistracted and 
carelesly to prepare himselfe, whilst he sits at dinner with 
his friends about him, to talke of any matter. And I am 
delighted to see Brutus, having both heaven and earth 
conspired against him and the liberty of Rome, by stealth 
to take some houres of the night from his other cares, and 
walking of the round, in al security to reade, to note and to 
abbreviate Polibius. It is for base and petty minds, dulled 
and overwhelmed with the weight of affaires, to be ignorant 
how to leave them, and not to know how to free themselves 
from them ; nor how to leave and take them againe. 

O fortes pejordqne passi, 
Mecum sccpe viri, nunc vino peUite curas, j 

Cras ingcns iterabimus ccquor. 

HoR. Car. i. Od. vii. 30. 

Valiant compecres, who oft have worse endured 
With me, let now with wine your cares be cured : 
To morrow we againe 
Will launch into the maine. 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 377 

Whether it be in jest or earnest, that the Sorhonicall 
)r theologicall wine, and their feasts or gaudy dayes are 
low come to bee proverbially jested at : I thinke there is 
;ome reason, that by how much more profitably and seri- 
msly they have bestowed the morning in the exercise of 
heir schooles, so much more commodiously and pleasantly 
ihould they dine at noone. A cleare conscience to have 
veil employed and industriousl}^ spent the other houres i$ 
L perfect seasoning and savory condiment of tables. So 
lave wise men lived. And that inimitable contention unto 
ertue, which so amazeth us, in both Catoes, their so 
;trictly-severe humor, even unto importunity, hath thus 
nildly submitted [it] selfe, and taken pleasure in the lawes 
)f humane condition, and in Venus and Bacchus. Accord- 
ng to their Sects-precepts, which require a perfectly wise 
nan, to be fully expert and skillfull in the true use of sen- 
ualities, as in all other duties or devoires belonging to 
ife. Cut cor sapiat, ei et sapiat palatus (Cic. Fin. ii.). 
let his palate be savoury, whose heart is savoury. Easie- 
eelding and facility doth, in my conceit, greatly honour 
nd is best befitting a magnanimos anl noble minde. 
^paminondas thought it no scorne, to thrust himselfe 
mongst the boyes of his citie, and dance with them, yea 
nd to sing and play, and with attention busie himselfe, 
vere it in things that might derogate from the honor and 
eputation of his glorious victories, and from the perfect 
eformation of manners, that was in him. And amongst 
o infinite admirable actions of Scipio the grand father, a 
nan worthy to be esteemed of heavenly race, nothing 
ddeth so much grace unto him, as to see him carelesly to 
lallie and childishly to trifle in gathering and chusing of 
ockle-shels, and play at cost castle along the sea-shoare 
vith his friend Lcelius. And if it were fowle weather^ 
imusing and solacing himselfe, to represent in writing and 
omedies the most popular and base actions of men. And 
laving his head continually busied with that wonderfull 
nterprise against Hanibal and Affricke, yet hee still visited 
he schooles in Cicily, and frequented the lectures of Philo- 
;ophy, arming his enemies teeth at Rome with envy and 
pight. Nor any thing more remarkeable, in Socrates, 
hen, when being old and crazed, hee would spare so much 
ime as to be instructed in the art of dancing and playing 

III ^^^ " ^ N 

378 Montaigne's Essayes 

upon instruments : and thought the time well bestowed 
Who notwithstanding- hath been seen to continue a whoL 
day and night in an extasie or trance, yea ever standing 
on his feet in presence of all the Greeke armie, as it wen 
surprised and ravished by some deep and minde-distract 
ing" thought. He hath beene noted to be the first, amongs 
so infinite valiant men in the army, headlong to rush out 
to helpe and bring-off Alcibiades, engaged and enthrongei 
by his enemies : to cover him with his body, and by maim 
force of amies and courage, bring him off from the rout 
And in the Deliane battell, to save and disingage Xeno 
phon, who was beaten f>om his horse. And in the mids 
of all the Athenian people, wounded, as it were with s( 
unworthy a spectacle, headlong present himselfe to th( 
first man, to recover Theramenes, from out the hands o 
the officers and satelites, of the thirty tyrants of Alliens 
who were leading him to his death ; and never desisted fron 
his bold attempt, until hee met with Theramenes himselfe; 
though hee were followed and assisted with two more 
He hath beene scene (provoked thereunto by a matchless( 
beauty, wherewith he was richly endowed by nature) a 
any time of neede to maintaine severe continency. Hei 
hath continually beene noted to march to the warres oi 
foote; to breake the ice with his bare feete; to weare on( 
same garment in summer and winter, to exceed all hii 
companions in patience of any labour or travell ; to eate n( 
more, or otherwise at any banquet, then at his ordinary; 
He hath beene scene seven and twenty yeares togethei 
with one same undismaid countenance, patiently to bean 
and endure hunger, poverty, the indocility and stub 
bornesse of his children, the frowardnes and scratching^ 
of his wife; and in the end malicious detraction, tyranny 
enprysonment, shakels and poyson. But was that, mari 
envited to drinke to him by duty of civility? he was alsc 
the man of the army, to whom the advantage thereo* 
remained? And yet he refused not, nor disdained to plaj 
for nuts with children, nor to run with them upon a hobby- 
horse ; wherin he had a very good grace : For all actiom 
(saith Philosophy) doe equally heseeme well, and honour a 
wise man. Wee have good ground and reason, and shoulc 
never be weary to present the image of this incomparabU 
man, unto al patternes and formes of perfections. There 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 379 

are very few examples of life, absolutly full and pure. 
And our instruction is greatly wronged, in that it hath 
certaine weak, defective and unperfect formes proposed 
unto it, scarcely good for any good use, which divert and 
draw us backe ; and may rather be termed corrupters then 
correcters. Man is easily deceived. One may more easily 
goe by the sides, where extremity serveth as bound, as a 
stay and as a guide, then by the mid-way, which is open 
and wide : and more according unto art, then according 
unto nature, but therewithal! lesse nobly and with lesse 
commendation. The greatnesse of the minde is not so 
iinuch, to drawe up and hale forward, as to know how to 
\range, direct and circumscribe it selfe. It holdeth for 
great whatsoever is sufficient. And sheweth her height, in 
loving meane things better then eminent. There is nothing 
so goodly, so faire and so lawfull as to play the man well 
and duely : Nor Science so hard and difficult, as to know 
how to live this life well. And of all the infirmities we 
have, the most savage, is to despise our being. Whoso 
ill sequester or distract his minde, let him hardily doe it, 
if he can, at what time his body is not well at ease, thereby 
to discharge it from that contagion : And elsewhere con- 
trary : that shee may assist and favour him, and not refuse 
ito be partaker of his naturall pleasures, and conjugally 
be pleased with them : adding thereunto, if shee be the 
wiser, moderation, lest through indiscretion, they might 
be confounded with [displeasure]. Intemperance is the 
plague of sensuality : and temperance is not her scourge, 
but rather her seasoning. Eudoxus, who thereon estab- 
ished his chiefe felicity : and his companions, that raised 
the same to so high a pitch, by meanes of temperance, 
which in them was very singular and exemplar, savoured 
the same in her most gracious sweetnesse. I enjoyne my 
mind, with a looke equally regular, to behold both sorrow 
and voluptuousenesse : Eodem enim vitio est effusio animi 
hi Icetitia, quo in dolor e contr actio (Cic. Tusc. Qu. iv.). 
^As faulty is the enlarging of the minde in mirth, as the con- 
tracting it in grief e : and equally constant : But the one 
tnerrily and the other severely : And according to that shee 
inay bring unto it, to be as carefull to extinguish the one, 
is diligent to quench the other. To have a perfect insight 
nto a good, drawes with it an absolute insight into evil. 
HI 442 N2 


380 Montaigne's Essayes 

And sorrow hath in her tender beginning something that" 
is unavoydable : and voluptuousnesse in her excessive end, 
something that is evitable. Plato coupleth them together, 
and would have it to bee the equall office of fortitude, to 
combat against sorrowes, and fight against the immoderate 
and charming blandishments of sensuality. They are two 
fountaines, at which whoso draweth, whence, when and as 
much as he needeth, be it a city, be it a man, bee it a 
beast, he is very happy. The first must be taken for 
physicke and necessity, and more sparingly : The second 
for thirst but not unto drunkennesse. Paine, voluptuous- 
7iesse, love and hate, are the first passions a childe feeleth: 
if reason approach, and they apply themselves unto it; that 
is vertue. I have a Dictionary severally and wholly to my 
selfe : I passe the time when it is foule and incommodious : 
when it is faire and good I will not passe it : I runne it over 
againe, and take hold of it. A nian should riinne the 
badde, and settle himselfe in the good. This vulgar phrase' 
of passe time, and to passe the time, represents the cus- 
tome of those wise men, who thinke to have no better 
account of their life, then to passe it over and escape it : 
to passe it over and bawke it, and so much as in them 
lyeth, to ignore and avoyd it, as a thing of an yrkesome,- 
tedious, and to bee disdained quality. But I know it to bee 
otherwise ; and finde it to be both priseable and commodi- 
ous, yea in her last declination ; where I hold it. And 
Nature hath put the same into our hands, furnished with 
such and so favourable circumstances, that if it presse and 
molest us, or if unprofitably it escape us, we must blame 
our selves. Stidti vita ingrata est, trepida est, tota in 
futurum fertur (Sen. Epist. xv.). A fooles life is all 
pleasant, all fearefull, all fond of the future. I therefore 
prepare and compose my selfe, to forgoe and lose it with- 
out grudging ; but a thing that is loseable and transitory 
by its owne condition : not as troublesome and importu^ 
nate. Nor beseemes it a man [not] to bee grieved when*^' 
he dieth, except they be such as please themselves to live| 
still. There is a kinde of husbandry in knowing how tol 
enjoy it. I enjoy it double to others For the measured 
in jovissance dependeth more or lesse on the application . 
we lend it. Especially at this instant, that I perceive mine J 
to be short in time, I wil extend it in weight : I wil stay | 


The Third Booke Chap. XIII 381 

the readines of her flight, by the promptitude of my hold- 
fast by it : and by the vigor of custome, recompence the 
haste of her fleeting. According as the possession of life 
is more short, I must endevour to make it more profound 
and full. Other men feele the sweetnesse [of a] content- 
ment and prosperity. I feele it as well as they ; but it is 
not in passing and gliding : yet should it be studied, tasted 
and ruminated, thereby to yeeld it condigne thanks, that 
it pleased to grant the same unto us. They enjoy other 
pleasures, as that of sleepe, without knowing them. To 
the end that sleepe should not dully and unfeelingly escape 
me, and that I might better taste and be acquainted with 
it, I have heretofore found it good, to bee troubled and 
interrupted in the same. I have a kinde of contentment 
to consult with my selfe : which consultation I doe [not] 
superficially runne over, but considerately sound the same, 
and apply my reason to entertaine and receive it, which 
is now become froward, peevish and distasted. Doe I 
■finde my selfe in some quiet moode? is there any sensuality 
■that tickles me? I doe not suffer the same to busie it selfe 
or dally about sences, but associate m.y mind unto it : Not 
•to engage or plunge it selfe therein, but therein to take 
delight : not to lose, but therein to finde it selfe. And 
for her part I employ her, to view herselfe in that prosper- 
ous state, to ponder and esteeme the good fortune she 
hath, and to amplifie the same. She measureth how much 
she is beholding unto God, for that she is at rest with her 
conscience, and free from other [intestine] passions, and 
hath in her body her natural disposition : orderly and com- 
petently enjoying certaine flattering and effeminate func- 
tions, with which it pleaseth him of his grace to recom- 
pence the griefes, wherewith his justice at his pleasure 
smiteth us. Oh how availfull is it unto her to be so seated, 
that [wherever] she casteth her eyes, the heavens are calme 
round about her ; and no desire, no feare or doubt troubleth 
the ayre before her : here is no difficulty, either past, or 
present, or to come, over which her imagination passeth 
'not] without offence. This consideration takes a great 
lustre from the comparison of different conditions. Thus 
doe I in a thousand shapes propose unto my selfe those 
to whom either fortune, or their owne errour doth transport 
and torment. And these nearer, who so slackly and in- 

382 Montaigne's Essayes 

curiously receive their good fortune. They are men which 
indeed passe their time : they overpasse the present and 
that which they possesse, thereby to serve their hopes with 
shadowes and vaine images, which fancy sets before them, 

Morte oblita quales jama est volitate figuras 
Aut qucB sopitos deludunt somnia sensus. 

ViRG. /En. X. 641. 
Such walking shapes we say, when men are dead, 
Dreames, whereby «;leeping senses are misse-led, 

which hasten and prolong their flight, according as they 
are followed. The fruit and scope of their pursuit, is to 
pursue : As Alexander said, that The end of his Travel!, 
was to travell. 

Nil actum credens ciim quid superesset agendum. 

LucAN. ii. 656. 
Who thought that nought was done, 
When ought remain 'd undone. 

As for me then, I love my [life] and cherish it, such as 
it hath pleased God to graunt it us. I desire not hee should 
speake of the necessity of eating and drinking. And I; 
would thinke to offend no lesse excusably, in desiring it 
should have it double. Sapiens divitiarum naturalium 
qucesitor acerrimus (Sen. Epist. cxix.). A wise man is a 
most eager and earnest searcher of those things that are\ 
naturall. Nor that we should sustaine our selves by only 
putting a little of that drugge into our mouth, wherewith 
Epimenedes was wont to alay hunger, and yet maintained 
himselfe. Nor that wee should insensibly produce children 
at our fingers endes or at our heeles, but rather (speaking 
with reverence) that wee might with pleasure and voluptu- 
ousnesse produce them both at our heeles and fingers 
endes. Nor that the body should be voyde of desire, and 
without tickling delight. They are ungratefull and im- 
pious complaints. I cheerefully and thankefully, and with 
a good heart, accept what nature ha,th created for me ; and 
am there with well pleased, and am proud of it. Great 
wong is offered unto that great and all-puissant Giver, to 
refuse his gift, which is so absolutely good ; and disanull 
or disfigure the same, since hee made perfectly good. 
Omnia qiuB secun&wni naturam sunt, estimatione digna. 
sunt (Cic. Fin. Bon. iii.). All things that are according to 
nature^ are worthy to hee esteemed. Of Philosophies 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 383 

opinions, I more willingly embrace those, which are the 
most solide, and that is to say, such as are most humane 
and most ours : My discourses are sutable to my manners : 
low and humble. She then brings forth a childe well pleas- 
ing me, when she betakes herselfe to her Quiddities and 
Ergoes, to perswade us, that it is a barbarous aliance, 
to marry what is divine with that which is terrestrial! : 
wedde reasonable with unreasonable; combine severe with 
indulgent, and couple honest with unhonest : that voluptu- 
ousnesse is a brutall quality, unworthy the taste of a wise- 
man. The onely pleasure he drawes from the enjoying 
of a faire young bride, is the delight of his conscience, by 
performing an action according unto order; As to put on 
his bootes for a profitable riding. Oh that his followers 
had no more right, or sinewes, or pith, or juyce, at the dis- 
maydening of their wives, than they have in his Lesson. 
It is not that, which Socrates, both his and our Master, 
saith ; Hee valueth rightly as hee ought corporall volup- 
tuousnesse : but he preferreth that of the minde, as having 
more force, more constancy, facility, variety and dignity. 
This according to him, goeth nothing alone, he [is] not so 
phantasticall ; but onely first. For him, temperance is a 
moderatrix, and not an adversary of sensualities. Nature 
is a gentle guide : Yet not more gentle, then prudent and 
just. Intrandum est in rerum naturam, et penitus quid ea 
postulet, pervidendum (Ihid. v.). Wee must enter into the 
nature of things, and throughly see what shee inwardly 
requiers. I quest after her track ; we have confounded 
her with artificiall traces. And that Academical! and Peri- 
pateticall summum honum or soveraigne felicity, which is, 
to live according to her rules : by this reason becommeth 
difficult to be limited, and hard to bee expounded. And 
that of the Stoicks, cousin germane to the other, which 
is, to yeeld unto nature. Is it not an errour, to esteeme 
some actions lesse worthy, forsomuch as they are neces- 
sary? Yet shall they never remove out of my head, that 
it is not a most convenient marriage, to wedde Pleasure 
unto Necessity. With which (saith an antient Writer) the 
Gods doe ever complot and consent. 

To what end doe wee by a divorce dismember a frame 
contexted with so mutual!, coherent and brotherly corre- 
spondency. Contrariwise, let us repaire and renue the 

384 Montaigne's Essayes 

same by enterchang-eable offices : that the spirit may awake 
and quicken the dul heavinesse of the body, and the body 
stay the lightnesse of the spirit, and settle and fixe the 
same. Qui velut summuni honum, laudat animce naturam, 
et tanquam malum, naturam, carnis accusal, profectd et, carnaliter appetit, et carnem, incarnaliter fugit, 
quoniam. id vanitate sentit humana, non veritate divina 
(Aug. Verb. Apostol. ser. xiii. c. 6). He that praiseth the 
nature of the soule, as his principall good, and accuseth 
nature of the flesh as evill, assuredly he both carnally 
affecteth the soule, and carnally escheweth the fiesh, since 
he is of this mind not by divine verity, but humane vanity. 
There is no part or parcell unworthy of our care in that 
present, which God hath bestowed upon us : We are 
accoumptable even for the least haire of it. And it is no 
commission for fashions sake for any man, to direct man 
according to his condition : it is expresse, natural! and 
principall : And the Creator hath seriously and severely 
given the same unto us. Onely authority is of force with 
men of common reach and understanding ; and is of more 
weight in a strange language. But here let us charge 
againe. Stultitice proprium quis non dixerit, ignave et con- 
tumaciter facere quce facienda sunt : et alio corpus impel- 
lere, alio animum, distrahique inter diversissimos motus? 
Who will not call it a property of folly to doe sloathfidly 
and frowardly what is to be done, and one way to drive 
the body, and another way the minde, and himselfe to bee 
distracted into most divers motions? Which, the better 
to see, let such a man one day tell you the ammusements 
and imaginations, which he puts into his owne head, and 
for which he diverteth his thoughts from a good repast, 
and bewaileth the houre, he imployeth in feeding himselfe : 
you shall finde there is nothing so wallowish in all the 
messes of your table, as is that goodly entertaincment of 
his minde {It were often better for us to bee sound a sleepe, 
than awake unto that we doe) and you shall find, that his 
discourses and intentions are not worth your meanest 
dish. Suppose they were the entrancings of Archimedes 
himselfe: and what of that? I here touch not, nor doe 
I blend with that rabble or raskality of men, as wee are, 
nor with that vanity of desires and cogitations, which divert 
us, onely those venerable mindes, which through a fer- 

The Third Booke Chap. XIII 385 

vency of devotion and earnestnesse of relig'ion, elevated to 
a constant and consciencious meditation of heavenly-divine 
things, and which by the violence of a lively, and vertue 
of a vehement hope, preoccupating- the use of eternall 
soule-saving nourishment; the finall end, only stay and 
last scope of Christian desires; the onely constant delight 
and incorruptible pleasure ; disdaine to rely on our neces- 
sitous, fleeting and ambiguous commodities : and easily 
resigne, the care and use of sensuall and temporall feeding 
unto the body. It is a priviledged study. Super-celestiall 
opinions, and under-terrestriall manners, are things, that 
amongst us, I have ever scene to bee of singular accord. 
Msope that famous man, saw his Master pisse as he was 
walking : What (said hee) must we not etc. when we are 
running? Let us husband time as well as wee can. Yet 
shall we employ much of it, hath idely and ill. As if our 
minde had not other houres enough to doe hir businesse, 
without disassociating hir selfe from the body in that little 
space which shee needeth for her necessity. They will be 
exempted from them and escape man. It is meere folly, 
insteade of transforming themselves into Angels, they 
transchange themselves into beastes : in lieu of advancing, 
they abase themselves. Such transcending humours 
affright me as much, as steepy, high and inaccessible 
places. And I finde nothing so hard to be digested in 
Socrates his life, as his extasies and communication with 
Dcemones. Nothing so humane in Plato, as that which 
they say, hee is called divine. And of our sciences those 
which are raised and extolled for the highest, seeme to 
me, the most basest and terrestriall. I finde nothing so 
humble and mortall in Alexanders life, as his concepts 
about his immortalization. Philotas by his answer quipped 
at him very pleasantly and wittily. Hee had by a letter 
congratulated with him, and rejoyced that the Oracle of 
Jupiter Hammon had placed him amongst the Gods ; to 
whom he answered, that in respect and consideration of 
him, he was very glad ; but yet there was some cause those 
men should be pittyed, that were to live with a man and 
obay him, who outwent others, and would not bee con- 
tented with the state and condition of mortall man. 

— Diis te minorem quod geris, imperas. 

HOR. Car. iii. Od. vi. 

386 Montaigne's Essayes 

- Since thou lesse then the Gods 

Bear'st thee, thou rul'st with ods. 

The quaint inscription, wherewith the Athenians honored 
the comming- 5f Pompey into their Citty, agreeth well, 
and is conformable to my meaning. 

D'autant es tu Dieu, comme 

Tu te recognois hotntne. — Plut. vit. Pomp. 

So farre a God thou maiest accompted be 
As thou a man doest reacknowledge thee. 

It is an absolute perfection, and as it were divine for a 
man to know how to enjoy his being loyally. We seeke for 
other conditions because we understand not the use of 
ours : and goe out of our selves, forsomuch as we know 
not what abiding there is. Wee may long enough get upon 
stilts, for he wee upon them, yet must we goe with our 
owne legges. And sit we upon the highest throne of the 
World, yet sit we upon our owne taile. The best and most 
commendable lives, and best pleasing men are (in my con- 
ceit) those which with order are fitted, and with decorum 
are ranged to the common mould and humane model : but 
without wonder or extravagancy. Now hath old age need 
to be handled more tenderly. Let us recommend it unto 
that God, who is the protector of health, and fountaine of 
all wisedome :. but blithe and sociall : 

Frui paratis et valido inihi 
Latoe dones et precor Integra 
Cum mente, nee turpcm senectam, 
Degere, nee cythara carentem. 

HoR. Car. i. Od. xxxi. 17. 

Apollo graunt, enjoy health I may 
That I have got, and with sound minde, I pray : 
Nor that I may with shame spend my old yeares, 
Nor wanting musicke to delight mine eares. 



A. — Fiorio, 1603 ; B. = Florio, 1613 ; C. — Florio, 1632; M. = Montaigne. 

Abated, throzvn hack (M., reiail- 

Abbreviate, make a digest or sum- 
mary (Coste). 
Abcedarian, a learner of the alphabet. 
Abecedarie, rudimentary. 
Abiding, leisure, repose. 
Abroad, uncovered, open io view. 
Abstersive, cleansing, purging. 
Abuttings, botmdaries. 
Accidents, incidents. 
Accoastings, approaches. 
Accommodable, statable. 
Accommodated and left, lent and 

Accord, armistice ; tune. 
Accorded, agreed. 
Accords, harmojiyf strains ; peace, 

"conditions of a.," Treaties of 

Account, "make a.," reckon, be sure. 
Accrease, increase. 
Acrimony, pungeitcy. 
AdaiTiant stone, loadstone. 
Address(ed), directied). 
Admirall-gally, flagship. 
A doe, to do. 
Advantaged, aided. 
Adventure, dare, risk, venture. 
Advertise, inform, teach, warn. 
Advertisement, advice, warning. 
Advised, took counsel ; resolved ; 

Advisedness, circumspection. 
Advisement, consideration. 
AfFect(ed), desigjt ; feign{ed), in- 

cline[d) towards. 
Affection, disturbance of spirit; 

influence (used in an astrological 

Against the haire, agaitist the grain. 
Agewes, agues. 


Aggravated, worn out. 

Agnize, examine. 

Alias, in the sense oi ^^ {living) at 
another time. " 

Allaying, disguising. 

Alleage (alledge), quote. 

Allegations, -quotations, illustra- 

Allo\v(ed), approve{d), commend{ed). 

Alonely, singly. 

A loofe-off, at a distance. 

Allure, willingly subject. 

Amated, paralyzed. 

Amboscadoes, ambushes. 

AmenTced, fln^d. 

Am muse, consider ; entertain ; em- 
ploy, concern. 

Ammusing, diverting, beguiling. 

Amphibologie, ambiguity. 

Anatomic, dried " carkasse cut up " 
(Cotgrave), possibly a skeleton. 

Ancient, ensigJi, standard-bearer ; 
ensign, flag. 

Angells, gold coins varying from 
bs. %d. to \os. in value. 

Answer, *' to a. himselfe of," to be 
responsible tozvards himself for. 

Answerable, suitable. 

Answerable to, similar towards. 

Antartike France, Brazil. 

Appaled, rendered pale. 

Appanage, inheritance. 

Apparance, appearance, ' ' I finde 
a.," it seems to mc. 

Appay, pay, satisfy. 

ApplsLVLtl, approve ; "a. themselves 
with," cojisent to. 

Applauding, pleasing. 

Applications, inclinations, bendings. 

Appose, examine. 

Apprentisage, beginning ; appren- 

Argo-lettiers, horse soldiers of com- 
paratively mean rank. 



Argos-eied, observant {Argus was 

said to have lOO eyes). 
Arme, *' to a.," to admit of arms. 
Armories, coats oj arms. 
Arras, tapestry. 
Arrerages, arrears. 
Arrest, decree^ sentence. 
Arrested, stopped. 
Artificially, artful. 
Artize, "a. nature," ^^ paint the 

Aruspices, foretelling future things 

by an examination of the entrails 

of sacrificed ajiimals. 
Aspers, small Turkish coins. 
Assaies, "at all a.," at all points. 
Assay, assaid (assayed), try^ tried, 

Assay, sample. 

Assistance, "an a,," servers. 
Assure, "from ... a. themselves," 

"m . . . r^/y." 
Asters, stars. 
Astonie, astonish. 
Astonied, horrifed. 
Astonieth, stuns, embarrasses, 

Astonish, stun, stupefy. 
Astony, startle. 
Astrolabe, ati instrument for taking 

heavenly altitudes at sea. 
Ataraxie (ataraxy), freedom from 

passion ; perfect tranqtiillity. 
Athwart, throughout. 
Attach, overtake. 
Attaints, injuries. 
Attediate, weary. 
Attend, "la. it," / apply myself 

to it. 
Attick Mines, an Attic Alina of 

silver equalled lOO drachmae, and 

was worth about £2> ^i". ?>d. 
Augures, omens. 
A vie (avye, avy), to the heart's 

content; straightway, willingly ; 

in emulation. 
Avoid (avoyde), quitit, begone, leave. 
Awefull, reverential. 


Babion, baboon. 
Babies, toys. 

Backe- Recourse, turning back. 

Bag- Pipe, an oaten pipe or reed 
(M., Chalemie). 

Bake, baek. 

Bald-rimers, unadorned rhymesters. 

Bales, balls. 

Band, bandy, oppose. 

Bandels, swaddling-clothes. 

Bandied, assembled. 

Bandy (bandie), contend, toss to and 
fro, a tennis tcri)i. 

Bane, poisonous. 

Banket, banquet. 

Bardels, saddle-pads. 

Bard(s), breast armour of war- 
horse ; used in sense of protection. 

Baricadoes, padded out and spread- 
ing clothes (.^ barrel-like). 

Barke, shout ; skin. 

Baroco and Baralipton, ^^ two terms 
of ancient Scholastic logic*^ (Le 

Barre, repel ; barre us, forbid us. 

Barriers, ' * the railes, or lists zuithin 
which a Tilting, Turnay, etc. , or 
single combate is to be performed " 

Bastardize, degenerate. 

Balhe, beat, or bustle about. 

Battell, battalion. 

Bawdie, dirty. 

Bawdrikewise, after the fashion of 
a belt or baldric that passed over 
one shoulder and round the op- 
posite side. 

Bawke, baulk. 

Bayly, bailiff. 

Bead-rowle (bedrowle), list of 
people, especially of those worth 
remembering ; catalogue ; origin- 
ally a list of people to be prayed 

Beare, "did b.," was after this 

Beares, litters. 

Beareth, urges; maintains, will 
have it; justifies; "the custom 
b.," it is the custom ; " our con- 
dilion b. ," such is our custom. 

Beavers, a drinking or luncheon 
between meals. 

Bebusied, occupied (Bee-b. in A.). 



Because, in ordej' that. 

Beccafico, or Snapfig, a bird re- 
garded as a peculiar delicacv in 

Becke, nod. 

Bedrell, bedridden. 

Bedstead, bed-canopy (M., ciel). 

Behooveful, needful. 

Being to represent, haviiig to repre- 

Beldam, hag. 

Belly-broken, ruptured. 

Beray the Panier, befoul the basket. 

Bergamask, a province in the State 
of Venice^ the inhabitants of which 
were reputed clownish in dialect. 

Besides, although. 

Beso las manos, kiss the hands. 

Bestead, served. 

Bewray, bet7'ay. 

Biase (Byase), inclination, tendency, 
a term in bowls. 

Bies, turnijtgs a'ivay, follies. 

Bi-membered, two-headed. 

Birlady, by our lady. 

Blabbered, swollen. 

Blancke, white mark in centre of 

Blandish, cajole. 

Blasoner, one who discourses at large. 

Blasted, harmed. 

Blazoned, disgraced. 

Bleare, deceive. 

Blinding bord, blinkers. 

Blood- wipes, cuts. 

Blubbred, swollen. 

Blur-papers, a^itliors. 

Bo-bo-boe (bihore, M.), a term of 
encouragement to horses. 

Bonds, "these pleasant b." (noue- 
ments d'eguillettes, M. ) , knots tied 
at a wedding on strips of material, 
and when passed through the 
wedding ring thought to prevent 
the constimmation of marriage 
until they were jttttied. 

Bonifie, ** to b.," to do a kindness. 

Boote, "what b.," what good is it. 

VtOoi-hdXmg, pillaging, dragging in 

Bootlesse (boot-les), jruitless. 

Bord, table. 

Borgeous (Burgeois),<^r^i?j-^, citizen. 
Boscage, foliated ornamentation. 
Botcherly-patchcotes, ^^ scissors and 

paste^' authors. 
Bouge, stir. 
Bout, <Kt. 

Bowie, ball, i.e. vain play. 
Brables, quarrels, disputes. 
Brabling, quarrelling. 
Brachmanian, Brahmin. 
Bradamant,or Angelica, two heroines 

of Ariosto. 
Bransles, movements. 
Brave, taunt. 
Braving, taunting. 
Brawling braves, blustering attacks. 
Brawne (braun), juuscle. 
Breath, "in b.," in use; "into 

b.," into healthy exercise. 
Breathie, windy. 
Broaches, spits ; spur. 
Brokage, mediation, sale. 
Brooding, breeding. 
Bruites, noises. 
Brutishnesse, stupidity. 
Bubled toyes, empty toys, trifles. 
Buckle, attack. 
Bucksome, gay, sprightly. 
Bumbast, swell ottt. 
Bumbasting, artificial padding, 

originally cotton used for stttfing. 
Bumbasted verdugals, padded far- 
thingales, early forms of the 

Burglayer, btirglar. 
Burre, the ring of iron on a spear 

behind the handle. 
Burstwort, HernaHa or Rupture 

Buts, targets, marks. 
By and by, instantly. 
By cold, for coldness. 
By kinde, by natural propensity. 
By \\{t,from life. 
By-saying, proverb. 
By tale, by nurnbe?: 
By wrong, unjustly. 

Cabbins, dwellings, nests. 
Cabiches, cabbages. 



Cadences and breakings, method 

and brevity. 
Caitife wretch, captive. 
Calepine, lexicon, dictionary. 
Caliver, musket, gtui. 
Calthrops, military implements 

used to prevent an advance of 

cavalry, inade of four iron spikes 
joined at their bases, so placed 

that when thrown down one spike 

always pointed upward. 
Canker, cancer. 
Can vase, plead, discuss ; labour, seek 

the accomplishment of desire ; 

'* had the c," been discredited. 
Capital!, liable to the death penalty, 

heinous, deadly. 
Capitulate, bargain. 
Cappings, bowings. 
Capsula totae, perfumed fro?ft head 

to foot, a term applied by Seneca 

to the fops of his day (Coste). 
Cai-canets, headgear. 
Cardes, implements for combing 

fibres of wool. 
Cariere, career, course, running a 

charge, a tournament ter?n. 
Carke, trotible, anxiety. 
Carking, troublous, anxious. 
Carrier, path. 
Carrols, dances. 
Cartell, challenge. 
Caske, headpiece. 
Cassiered, cashiered. 
Cast, devise ; arranged, planned. 
Casting-counters, mechanical aids in 

Catars, catarrhs. 
Cates, delicacies, dainties. 
Cathedrall master, y^^'-^, moderator. 
Cautelous, artful, insidious. 
Cauterie, cauterization (costiveness, 

Caveat, warning. 
Cawcy, causeway. 
Censure, sentence. 
Censureth, or preferably, is weary 

of, is burdened with. 
Chafe, knit the brows. 
Chafeth, blames, falls out with 

(s'en prendre ^ soy, M. ) ; frets. 
Chafing, fretting. 

Chafing dishes, portable ^varming 

Champian,y7a/, open. 
Change coppy, quite another thing. 
Changed copy, turned round. 
Chap, cleave. 
Charge, ''penitence ought to c," 

requires penalty ; employment ; 

expense; atteinpt ; place (verb); 

"to c," to undertake; "great 

c," strict orders. 
Chargeable, costly. 
Chargeably, heavily. 
Charges, employment. 
Chargeth, burdeneth. 
Charging, upbraiding. 
Cheape, "better c," at an easier 

rate, cheaper. 
Checke, bad humour, fretting ; ex- 

amine, ascertain {preferably 

shake; chocke, M.) ; " neerely 

c," closely observe. 
Cheeke-roule, counterpart. 
Cheverell, tender, pliable. 
Chide, make a lotid noise. 
Chiefly, absolutely. 
Chimeraes, wild schemes. 
Chocke, violent charge. 
Chopt, chapped. 

Chuff-penny, ?niserly, sour, grim. 
Cicatrices, stigmata. 
Cimitary, scimitar. 
Cingling, bracing with a girth. 
Circumstances, "without more c. ," 

i. e. immediately. 
Clap, " at one c," at once. 
Clappe, onset. 

Clarke, registrar ; scholars. 
Clawing, fondling. 
Cleane, complete, completely. 
Climate, region, district. 
Cloke-bags, portmanteaus. 
Close by the ears, in close combat, 

C\osQ coTiV&y^nces,tinderha72d t7-icks. 
Clos'd homes, the waxing of the 

Closely, tacitly. 
Coafers, coffers. 
Coape, covering, arch. 
Coarse, corpse. 
Coasting, running by the side. 



Coat, "others of his c," similar 

Cob-nut, ^^ the childish game cob- 
nut; or {rather) the throiving of 

a ball at a heape of ntits, which 

done, the th-ower takes as many 

as he hath hit, or scattered " (Cot- 

Cocker, pamper. 
Cocket, pert, saucy. 
Cockring-kind, pampering. 
Cog, trick. 
Coile (coyle), confusion, bustle; 

"keeps a c." make a tumult, 

Cold, spiritless, farfetched. 
Colewort, cabbage. 
Colled, clasped round the neck. 
Colleges, congregations, convents. 
Colour, pretence. 
Colourable, specious. 
Comber, burden. 
Combining, unity. 
Combustion, tumult. 
ComeVmess force, strength (poids,M. ) 
Comfortable, strengthening (salu- 

taire, M.) 
Comical, humorous, free and easy. 
Commerce and long conversation, 

Commodite {coxa.vcvQ^xX.y'), advantage, 

Compact, combine. 
Compeeres, comrades. 
Compendious, sinewy (nerveux, M. ). 
Competencie, agreement, sufferance 

(concurrence, M.)- 
Complexion, character, nature ; 

" by his owne c," naturally. 
Complot, negotiate ; conspiracy. 
Composition, mixture ; agreement, 

bargain ; writings. 
Compounded, well balanced, stipplied 

with proportional qualities. 
Compromitted to, compromised with. 
Con (conne, kon), "I c. . . . 

thanks," owe . . . thanks. 
Conceipt, fantasy. 
Conceit, belief, thought, idea; 

brains ; imagine (used as a verb). 
Conceive, promise or guarantee 

(pleuvis, M.) ; believe. 

Concentriques, bodies havitig the 

same centre. 
Concitation, excitement, emotion. 
Concocted, digested. 
Con'd . . . roat, learned by heart. 
Condigne, well merited. 
Condition, *' of c," by nature. 
Conditions, qualities, attributes. 
Conference with, relation to. 
Conferre, contribute. 
Confets, confections. 
Confound, abate, unravel (rabattre, 

Confronted, disappointed or eluded 

(choue, M.). 
Conges, leave-takings. 
Congression, intercourse. 
Conicatch, entrap, impose upon 

(cony, rabbit). 
Connexitie, connection. 
Conscience, "I make a c," / am 

troubled; "makec," " make no 

c," scruple, scruple tiot. 
Consequence, inference; "by c," 

consequently; "when. . . bring 

his life into c," when his life 

depends tipon. 
Consort, consorted, harmony, in 

Constancie, strength. 
Constantly, tranquilly, firmly, 

Conster, construe, conjecture. 
Constituted, continued. 
Containe, keep. 
Contention, effort ; "enter into c. 

of," exchange. 
Contexted, put together. 
Contexture, framework. 
Contraction, convulsion. 
Contrary, contradict. 
Contriving, making. 
Controuled, examined, observed. 
Controversed, in discussion. 
Controversied, controverted. 
Convenient, suitable, necessary. 
Conventicles, cabals, secret meetings. 
Conversation, com?7iunity. 
Convicted, convinced. 
Copes, matches, contends. 
Copesmate, partner, associate. 
Cord ial 1 , heart -strengthening. 



Cornish, the Welch, or Irish (Bas- 
ques et les Troglodytes, M.), 
Basques, a ryrenean race tvhose 
language is separate fro77i the 
European groups ; Troglodytes, a 
Greek na?ne for uncivilized cave- 

Corporall oath, an oath taken with 
the hand upon the corporal or 
cloth upon which the sacred 
elements of the Eucharist are 

Correction, coercion, restraint. 

Corselet, light suit of armour. 

Cosen ( cousin) -german, akin. 

Cosoned, deluded, cheated. 

Cost-casLle, a game in which objects 
had to be picked up rapidly when 
running; or stone-throwing 
{^^ ducks and drake s"*^) has also 
been suggested. 

Couched, hidden. 

Coucheth . . . upon, applieth . . . 

Countenance, "in c," outivardly. 

Counteibuffe, rude blow. 

Countercosin, deceive. 

Countercraft, evasion, the answering 
of a fool according to his folly. 

Counterpeizing (counterpising. A.), 
weighing, putting into the balance. 

Counterpoise, equality. 

Counter-roule, catalogue, originally 
a list in dt4plicate or counterpart. 

Countervail, equal, compensate. 

Courses, steps. 

Court-holy ^q.\.qx, flattery {Cf King 

Cousin, cozen, cheat, deceive. 

Coverchef (chiefe), hood, kerchief. 

Cover-few, curfew. 

Covert, reserved. 

Covert-Baron, * ' under c. -b. ," utider 
shelter, into safety. 

Covetise, avarice, covetousness. 

Coxcomb, " Starke c," utter fool, 

Coyfed, the head covered. 

Cracke, chatter ; noise. 

Crackes, talks. 

Cranes, jesses in hawking, a short 
strap of leather by which hawks 
were attached to the zvrist. 

Cranes, or Twyne, "/^ cryance ; or 
a long thread tyed to the lunes of 
an Hagard, or young Hawk, 
when she is taught to come unto 
the fist, or lure" (Cotgrave). 

Cranishes, chasms, fissures. 

Cranke, brisk. 

Crank es, devious ways. 

Crazed, broken down. 

Credence, "letters of c," i. e. cre- 
dentials ; bonds, guarantees. 

Crinches, cringes. 

Crompt, crooked. 

Crotesko, grotesque. 

Crotta, Crete. 

Crowes to pul, causes of dissension. 

Crupper, flanks. 

Culverin, cannon of the i6th century. 

Cunne, ? tunne (faire cuver, M.), 
^^ to tunne, or put into a fat or 
tub ; to season, let worke, or stand 
in, a vat, or tub " (Cotgrave). 

Cunnie, rabbit. 

Cunning, learned, clever. 

Cunningly, skilfully. 

Cunny- catching. See Conicatch. 

Cuppe-shotten, drunk. 

Curiously, ingeniously, caj-efully. 

Currant payment, authentic. 

Currantness, credit. 

Curtail, docked. 

Curtine, that part of a rampart 
which links the flanks of two 

Dained, deigned. 

Damasked, ornautented, variegated. 

Damnified, injiired, deprived of life. 

Dandled, arnused. 

Danted, daunted. 

Darnell, the popular name for 
Lolium temulentum, a grass 
supposed to be the \* tares'^ of 

Dastardise, feebleness. 

Daughter in alliance, adopted 

Day, appearance, show ; ' ' donner 
jour a sa despence, to labour to 
get his expences a reputation ; or, 
so to manage them as the world 



may take most notice of (hem " 

Debauclies, diversions (i. e. suc/i as 

Debonarity (debonairitie), gentle- 
ness, courtesy . 

Debordement, disorder. 

Declination, decline, decay. 

Declinations, deviations, variatiojis. 

Deduction, discourse, narration ; 

Defeat(e), evasion ; dispatch. 

Defeature, disguise, change of 

Deffailance, Jaintncss, languor. 

Deforme, render unconformable. 

Demeane, conduct. 

Demised, conveyanced. 

Demisextiers, half-pints. 

Demisse, humble, timid, coivardly. 

Denaisseness, baseness. 

Demission, dismissal. 

Demurreth, adjourned. 

Denison(ship), citizen{ship). 

Denounce, proclaim, signify, de- 

Derived, diverted. 

Descant, vary ; toss about. 

Despite (despight), anger, spite. 

Desquine, ' ' the knotty, and medi- 
cinall root of a certain Indian 
Bullrush " (Cotgrave). 

Destroyers (boutefeux, M.), ff'^- 
brands, those who wilfully set on 

Devices (nouvelletez, M.), a legal 
term meaning interruptions ; "a 
new, or late interruption, or im- 
peachment of possession^' (Cot- 
grave) ; A. and B., devises. 

Devoir(e), duty. 

Dew guard, Dieu vous garde [God 
be with you). 

Diameterly, diametrically. 

Diapred, diversified. 

Diffidence . . . from, distrust in, 
dissent from. 

Diminishing, minimizing. 

Dint, point, edge. 

Directing, capable of teaching or 

Disalow, disapprove. 

Disarmed, uncovered, the armour 
taken of. 

Disavowe, prevent. 

Discanted, scattered abroad. 

Discourse, reason, fudgvient. 

Discover, reveal, show ; dccry^ con- 

Discretion, "by d.," at will. 

Disingage, release; save. 

Disinter essed of, not /nixed up 

Dislodging, departing. 

Dismal, mortal, deadly. 

Dismembrings, parts, members. 

Dispending, expenditure, disposing. 

Dispoile, put off. 

Dissemblable, dissimi'ar. 

Distasted, contemned; sickened ; 

Distemper, weaken. 

Distempered, disordered, troubled. 

Distempering, diluting. 

Distilling, trickling. 

Distribution, clearance. 

Disvisaged . . . my countenance, 
made me look ill. 

Dittamy, origanum ; dictamnus, a 
plant allied to the English 

Divulsiun, rending asunder. 

Doale, dole, store. 

Doccie, douches. 

Doctorall, learned. 

Documents, piecepts. 

DomagCable, damageable^ hurtful. 

Dombe, dumb. 

Domifications, in astrology, the 
division of the heavens into 
twelve houses, for the purpose of 
deciding ttpon fortunes at the hour 
of birth. 

Dongue, dung. 

Downe-steepy, precipitous. 

Draughts, outlitte (traicts, M. ). 

Drest, groomed. 

Drewne, induced; drawne, carried 

Drift, purpose, aim. 

Drill, run. 

Dry-blowes, thumps, bruises. 

Dumpish retracting, quiet retiring. 

Dyspathie, aversion. 



Each-where, everywhere. 

Earnested, heated. 

Earnesteth, strengthens. 

Effect, "in e.," in the end, in 
reality; "by e.," after ally in 

Eftsoones, recently ; afterwai-ds ; 

Eies dropping, blear-eyed. 

Elevates, lightens. 

Elonge, "e. and draw us," carry ns 

Elsewhence, in other ways. 

Embabuinized, besotted. 

Embellished, bestowed upon. 

Embleme, '*a Picture, and short 
Posie, expressing some particular 
conceit " (Cotgrave). 

Emboguing, delta, mouth (embou- 
chure, M.). 

Embost, hard hunted. 

Embrued, imbued. 

Embusie, employ. 

Emotion, motion. 

Empair(ed), make worse; depre- 
ciated, alloyed. 

Empairing, decay, growing worse. 

Empeach, hinder. 

Empeachment, hindrance. 

Emperikes, early professor's of 
medicine who based their treat- 
ment upon observation and ex- 
periment ; used later as a term 
for quacks. 

Emprelate, walk pompously as a 

Enable, endue, strengthen. 

Enammell, ornament., growing {ex tn, M.). 

Endeare (endeere), enhance; com- 
mend, Justify ; value at a higher 
rate, enrich. 

Endeareth, enriches, fortifies. 

Endenized, established. 

Endenizon, make a home, settle 
down, naturalize. 

Endited, dictated. 

Endomaged, damaged. 

Endure, xvait. 

En- earnest, luarm. 

Enfeofed (enfeoffed), established • 

Enfeoffe, stamp for ever. 

Enforme,y^rw, fashion. 

Enfranchised and gaineful, free, 
frank, and profitable. 

Engaged, gave tip^ pledged. 

Enhonny, entice by sweet means. 

Enmildens, cools. 

Ens Entium, Being of beings. 

Ensigne, viark or label. 

Enstall, display. 

Ensue you, come to you. 

Enter-bearing, supporting. 

Enter-call, enter-devour, etc. ; mutu- 
ally call, devour, etc. 

Entercaprings, capering, dancing 
(coupure, M.). 

Enterchaine, mix or cling together. 

Enterfeast, entertain. 

Enter-glose, mutually comment 

Enter-kill, kill one another. 

Entermissions, "by e.," at intervals. 

Enter-parlie, negotiations for an 

Enterparly, Jtegotiate. 

Enterprise of, expedition into. 

Enter-seeke, htpit after. 

Enter-shocke, charge. 

Entertain(e), Wi2z;?/am ; stop, hinder ; 
converse with ; mix. 

Enter- warning, mzitually inquiring. 

Enthronged, overwhelmed. 

Entrailes, native country. 

Entraine, carry on. 

Entre, mutually. 

Entreatie, entreating, treatment. 

Enure, accustom. 

Envie, odium. 

Envy (Envie), "in e. of," in emula- 
tion of. 

Epliemerides, daily positions of the 

Epicicles, in Ptolemaic astronomy 
the names given to small circles^ 
whose centres described large 

Epicranium, the covering of the 

Equality, comparison. 

" Ergoes," there fores. 



Eringos or Se-i-TIolme, Eryngium, 
a gemts of Umbellifera ; E. 
Maritimuffi {Sea-Holly) is oc- 
casionally used in a young state 
as a salad. 

Erst (earst), formerly. 

Escapes, sallies, matters. 

Escheated, befa,llen, reverled. 

Eschew, avoid. 

Essay, "the e. of my studies fruit," 
i. e. tlie weigfiing and Judging of 
the fruit of my studies. 

Estimation, "by e.," by esteem. 

Estriges s(Etridges), ostriches. 

Eves, watchings. 

Evidences, title-deeds. 

Exagitate, censure. 

Exasperate, expound, declaim 

Exasperated, rendered tvorse. 

Excentriques, bodies not having the 
same centre. 

Excercitation, exercise, employment. 

Exemplar, exemplary. 

Exigent, necessity, exigency. 

Exinanition, extreme emptiness. 

Experience, routine. 

Explication, unfolding, exposition. 

Exploit, perform. 

Exployting, " e. whereof," pro- 
ducing this. 

Exquisit sufficiencie, showy clever- 

Exquisite, scrupulous, tender, per- 

Exsiccating, drying-up. 

Eyes-trilling, blear-eyed. 

Facilitie of complexion, affability. 

Fadge, succeed, please. 

Faine, feign, pourtray ; desirous; 

Faine-faine, ardently. 
Fained and fond, hypocritical. 
Faire, slowly. 
Familiar, personal. 
Familiars, domestic servitors and 

Yz.x\-3,\AZ-^, fantastical. 
Fantastiquize, write fantastically. 

Farced, stuffed as with forcemeat. 
Fardle-up, tie tip in a faggot or 

Farre, " so f.," so free. 
Farre-forth, "so f.f. as," so much as. 
Fast and loose, the game of easily 

freeing oneself for a wager, from 
apparently securely tied rope. 
Fatally, inevitably, 
Faulchon, a broadsword with a 

curved or scythe-like end. 
Faulkner, falconer. 
Fearfully, carefully. 
Featly, deftly. 
Febricant, febricitant, febrific, 

Feere, husband. 
YftW, fierce, savage. 
Fenel, foeniculum, an aromatic 

Fets, ranges about, fetches and 

carries ; derives. 
Fierce, p?-oud, hatighty ; eager. 
Fierceness, haughtiness. 
Filthie, heavy. 
Findeth, keep, nourishes. 
Fit for him, belonged to him. 
Fits, iniptilses. 
Fittes, ^^ aXi.," intermittently ; "by 

f.", continually. 
Flaps, parts, patches. 

Fleagme, bodily humours, cold. 
Flearing, grinning. 
Y\tt.\.^, fleeting, flee, flight. 
Flegmatike, watery. 
Flesh, invigorate, urge. 
Flesht, carnally minded {^(f^. A.). 
Flim flam, lying, rubbishy. 
Flouting, scoffing. 
Fluiditie, fluency, 
Flurting, scorning, with satirical 

Flush, render gay or splendid. 
Follie, madness. 
Fond-hardy, foolhardy. 
Fondly, foolishly. 
Fondnes, foolishness. 
Foord, current. 
Forbeare, forego. 
Force, orrrcome, restrain ; "in f.," 

ai its height : "of i.," assuredly. 



Force, "was the f. ," consiifuted the 

Fore-learn't, learned by rote. 
Forefathers, kinsfolk (cousins, M. ). 
Forepassed, fore past, foiegoingy 

Forewent, anticipated. 
Forgoe, lose. 
Formalizeth, discontents. 
Formal), regular. 
Forme, fashion.^ manners. 
Foimular, copy. 

Forward valour, promising valour. 
Forwardnes, direction in the path. 
Foulter, falter, stumble. 
Foundred, disabled (refroidie, M.)' 
Frameth. " he f.," he is disctissing, 

setting forth. 
Fraughted , freighted, supplied. 
French-pedling, trifling (French is 

an addition of F.'s). 
Frequence, commerce. 
Freshwater, unskilled. 
Friandize, ^* lickorishness of taste : 

a curious choice, or chtising of 

meats'" (Cotgrave). 
Frightful, affrighted. 
Frizelings, curls. 
Froes,frau's {wife's). 
Front, confute. 
Frost-shod, rough-shod. 
Fume, dregs. 
Fustain, bombastic ; mouldy, 


Gaberdines, a long, coarse, external 
garment ; the word is here used 
to translate J/.'s "capettes," 
scholars of the College de Mon- 
taign at Paris, who wore short 
capes, and who 7cere held in con- 
tempt because of their loiv birth. 
The word is here applied by AT. to 
the men of his century generally 

Gages, engagements. 

Gaillardise, forwardness, indiscre- 

Gaine-ceasing, without profit. 

Gainesay, contradict. 

Gainstood, withstood. 

Gallantize, adorn in an affected 

Galliotte, '^ a small galley, or galley- 
like vessel, having twenty oares on 
a side, and two or three ro7vers to 
an oare ; much used by Turkish 
and Moorish rowers " (Cotgrave ). 

Gally-mafry, hash, hodge-podge. 

Gape-seed, "look about for g. -s. , " 
gaze about in ignorance or 

Garbe, grace. 

Gauleth, galls. 

Genders, kinds. 

Genuitie (genuity), contexlure, na- 
ture, tendency ; "of their own g. , " 
i. e. because of their very nature. 

Gests, deeds, acts. 

Giant -like, as a virago (horn masse, 

Gibrish, rubbish; meaningless. 

Gifts, whims, caprices (verves. 

Gird, twinge. 

Girding, tightening with a girdle. 

Glaive, sword. 

Gloriously, proudly ; boastful. 

Glory, vanity. 

Glosse, colour; comment upon. 

Gobbets, small morsels. 

Godamercy, "g. his trade," thanks 
to his trade. 

Goe-by-grasse, trailing on the 
groiiiid {the verse, oj course, 
describes a snail). 

Good land, income. 

Gorgeous, beautiful, lovable (gor- 
giases, M.). 

Gormandizing, rebuking. 

Gossips, sponsors in baptism. 

Gourmondise, triumph over. 

Gowne-Clarkes, lawyers, masters of 

Gratulation, joy. 

Greaves, armour for the legs. 

Greene rosted, half raw. 

Grettie, gritty. 

Gretty, B. and C., crusty ; pretty^ 

Grisly, dreadful. 

Grose (Grosse), "in g.," in the 
main : in bulk, as a whole. 



Grutch, grudge. 

Guiacum, a medicinal gum extracted 

from the wood of lignutfi-vittc. 
Guidon, ensign. 
Guiltie-cauterized, seared as though 

with hot fnetal, and consequently 

Gyptians, gypsies. 


at h. 

Hab or nab, at all events ; 
at a venture. 

Haft(ed), handle{d). 

Hale, drag. 

Hals, market-places, town- halls, 

Hammes, hamstrings. 

Hand- while, " every h.," i.e. con- 
tinually, at short intervals. 

Handy-dandy {children s game), 
sleight of hand. 

Handy- gripes, close grasp. 

Handy -sports, practical jokes. 

Hansel, to use for the first time. 

Hap (happe), condition ; fortune. 

Happily, haply. 

Hardly, boldly ; barely, uneasily. 

Hardly-ruled, difficult to control. 

Harguebuses, harquebuses, guns. 

Harnish, harness. 

Harpe, touch. 

Harquebusada, a shot from a 

Harquibuzier, marksman. 

Harsell, torment. 

Harten, encourage. 

Harts-master, master of the choir. 

Hast-making, haste, precipitation. 

Haughty, high, noble. 

Having, " no h.," no real possession. 

Havocks, devastation. 

Hazard, "on h. to let," at the risk 
of letting; "he who keeps the 
h.," he who awaits the stroke. 

Heart enflaming, shining, radiant. 

Hecticke, consumptive. 

Heedily, carefully. 

Heedy, competent. 

Helleborum, a plant belonging to 
the order Ranunculacece, stated to 
be of medicinal effect in cases of 

Hemlocke, a plant belonging to the 
order Umbellifeirc, frofu which 
ivas extracted the poison used in 

Herb-wife, flower-girl. 

Heteroclite, extraordinary, deviat- 
ing from the common. 

Hew, hiie. 

Hie, arise quickly. 

Hies, flies. 

Hoast, band, company. 

Hobby-horse, woodeu'horse. 

Hoc, a wo?-d used in the consecration 
of the host. 

Hoc age, the reply of the priest to 
the sacrificer, which recalled the 
wandering attention of the con- 

Hodge (Hotch)-pot, medley. 

Hoe, "no h. with him," no calling 
out would make him stop. 

Hoised, hoisted, 

Hoised-full, well hoisted. 

Holbard, halberd, an axe-like 

Hold, " in h.," in custody. 

Holdfast, seizure, grasp. 

Hold-fast on, grasp of. 

Holme-tree, Holly tree. 

Holp-up, accommodated. 

Hood-winckt, blindfolded. 

House, "him who stands at the 
h.," him who delivers the stroke 
from ^^ home.^' 

Ho-yes, Oyez ! hear ye I 

Hoysing, hoisting. 

Hoyting, romping, 

Hudle (huddle), bring together {not 
necessarily in a confused ?nanjjer), 

HujTger-mugger, secretly, in the 

Hulling, tossed helplessly to and fro. 

Hurred and haled, Jolted and pulled 

Hurring, roaring. 

Hurry, " h, you," zvorry you, pull 
you about. 

Husbandrie, care of a household or 

Husbands, economizers, managers. 

Hyne, hind, peasant boy. 

Hypothekised, set aside, pledged. 



Ichneumon, an Egyptian quadruped 

famed for d€ straying ref tiles. 
Ideled, rendered idle. 
Ill may the Kill call the Oven 

burnt taile, /// may the pot call 

the Kettle black. 
Imitate, stop at, dwell upon. 
Immure, wall, fortify. 
Impassible, incapabU of passion. 
Impeach, hinder. 
Impeachment, -uasfe, lessening. 
Impertinently, inapty (ineptement, 

Imperverseth, hardens. 
Impetuous, pitiless (impiteux, M. ). 
Implide, transfixed^ entangled. 
Imployable, indexible. 
Importeth, " i. all in r.i:," carries 

all before it. 
Importunitie, burden. 
Impostume, abscess. 
Imprease, '^ ati impn-ess is a dezn<-e 

in a picture icith his motto or 

word borne by noble or learned 

personages " (Camden). 
Impression, pressure. 
Imptigned, doubted. 
Impulsion, impulse. 
Imputation, in a bad sense, i. e. 

contempt : blame. 
Incidencie, ''by i.," incidentally. 
I n com m od i ty , disadvantage. 
Inconvenience, accident, mishap. 
Incorporall, vjitko^it body, senseless, 

frivolous (E., Johanneau). 
Inculcation, frequent repetition. 
Incuriously, carelessly. 
Indifferently, moderately y sufficiently. 
Induction, means. 
Indurate, obdurate. 
Ingenuity, ingenuousness. 
Ingrosse, increase. 
\r&\b\\., forbid. 
Inhibition, denial ; prohibition [or 

defence ?). 
Injurie, rail at. 

Injuries, bitter words, reproaches. 
Injurious, bitter. 
Inke-pot, pedantic. 

Innated, natural, inherent. 

Inned, incorporated. 

In respect of, in regard of, in cor 

parison ivith ; rather than. 
Inserted to, mixed up in. 
Insist, resist. 

Instantly, iirgently, strongly. 
Instituted, directed. 
Institutes, undertakes the rdle of. 
Institution, education. 
In suite, to law. 
Insulting arrogance, outragecnis, 

trecuhcrous (supercherie, A. and 

Intender, softeti. 

Interessed, wronged; gave way to ; 

Interest, property. 
Intermission, mediation, means; 

Inutile, useless. 
Inveagled, corrupted. 
Invective, aggressive, encroaching. 
Invention, declaration, enutuiation. 
Invested, covered, clothed. 
Invitings, conductings. 
Inward, intimate. 

Jack out of doores. Cp. Jack out of 
olSce, Shakes. /. Hen. VI., I. i. 
Jade, horse, broken-down horse. 
Jangling, clanwzir. 
Jaw-falne, hollow-cheeked. 
Jolly -quaint, gallant. 
Jote, jot, least bit. 
joustes, tournaments. 
Jo\-isance (jovissance), enjoyment. 
] oy aiGT, Jointure, settlement. 
Jubeting, hooting. 

Juggle, >/;^«. 

Jngler, tumbler, player. 

Jugling, playing, acting ; cheating. 

Jump with, agree with. 

Jumpe, "j. to speake truth," in 
truth agree with this, alight upon 
it (rencontreroit plus souvent a 
dire vray, M.) ; agree with. 

Jumped, agreed. 

Jumping, agreement. 




Kae mee He kae thee, comb me and 

I'll comb thee. 
Kenning, seeming. 
Key, '''' of another k." of another 

Key(es), of Fields = power. 
Kibes, chaps, chilblains. 
King's evil, scrofula. 
Knowne, advowed. 
Kon, See Con. 
Konne, learn. 
Kue, cue, direction. 

Labile, flowing, subject to change. 
Laide, laid on, strikes. 
Languishment, " without . . , 1.," 

not lingeri^ig. 
Larves, ghosts, masked beings. 
Law, liberty, leisure, fueans. 
Leaden vessels, cueux or qtieuse, 

'*a rude lumpe, or masse ; as of 

iron, etc., comming from the 

furnace, or before it be wrotight 

into barres " (Cotgrave). 
L.^z.%\xig%, falsehoods (fadese, M.)- 
Leaud, lewd. 

Leaudnesse, malice, lewdnesse. 
[xave, forbear, give up. Left, 

Lechard, unlawful. 
Lechardes, lovers. 
Lecture, lesson ; reading. 
Leefe, ^'■zs.X.," as willingly. 
Leg of reverence, bow, behaviour. 
Let, kindi-ance. 
Lethall, deadly. 
Letter-ferits, letter-stricken men, 

pedants (O. Fr. ferir, to strike). 
Lewd, sad. 
Libels, writs. 

Libertine, manumitted slave. 
Licence, release. 
Lie, **L so farre forth," so far to 

be false. 
Light, yu:// into. 
Lriketh, "itl. me," I am pleased ; 

* ' likes me not," / do not like. 
Liking, condition. 
Lil'd, lolled out, thi-ust out. 

Liminary, dedicatory, preliminary. 

Limit, determine. 

Linnen- flops, sho7-t drawers. 

List, will ; wished, chose. ■• 

Listes end, narrow strip. 

Lists, enclosed race or tournament 

Lither, lazy. 

Lithernesse (faineance, M. ; oysif- 
vete, M.), ^'- idlenesse, lazitiesse, 
loytring, slothfulnesse, lithernesse, 
drousinesse, faintheartednesse, 
heartlessnesse, dulnesse " (Cot- 

Lithernesse (poltronerie, M.)> 
' ' knavery, vileness, baseness ; 
cowardice, dastat'dly ; sluggish- 
nesse, lazinesse ; unworthinesse" 

Liveliness, life. 

Lively, simply (Fr. naffve) ; 
vivid{ly) ; tw table, perfect, bril- 
liant, natural. 

Lives — Essayes, "my l.-E.," the 
endeavours of my life. 

Long of, because of. 

Longs, belongs. 

Loose, departing. 

Looseth them, ruins them. 

Lost, spoiled, made to perish. 

Lot-pot, urn for shaking of lots of 

Lourdans, '* « sot, dullard, grotnoll, 
jobernoll, blockhead ; a lowt, lob, 
lusk, boa7-e, clown, churle, cluster- 
fist ; a proud, ignorant, and 
unmannerly swaine " (Cotgrave). 

Lowes, bellowings. 

Low-lowting, servile. 

Lowring, frowning. 

Lowting, se}-vile, bowing. 

Lurking, hiding, going into retreat. 

Lust, vigour. 

Luster, lustre, adornment, aspect. 

Lustre. See Luster. 

Luxurious, lustful. 


Magistrale, magistrall, magisterial, 
severe, pompotts. 


Magnanimitie, fortitude. 

Maine, vast ; ocean ; centre, bulk ; 
piqfoiind ; absolute. 

Msinly (mainely), strongly, loudly ; 

Maintaining, Justifying. 

Make a hawk, instruct a hawk. 

Malapert (malapart), bold, pre- 

Malapertness, effrontery. 

Male, trunk, baggage. 

Manimockes, pieces, portions {of 

Manageable, manifest. 

Maneo male, not so bad. 

Mannage, handle horses. 

Manuall, hand labour. 

Manutention, maintenance. 

Maquorelage, bawdiness ; seduction. 

Marble-sounds, shining seas. 

March, " brought to a m.," brought 
to a course. 

Marchpanes, almond cakes. 

Mare-Maggiore, the Black Sea. 

Marish, marshy. 

Martialists, warriors. 

Martinella, "M^ name of a great 
common bell in Florence, which 
they ring out in times ofwar?-e or 
imminent danger'^ (Florio's 
Queen Annans New World oj 

Mastr)', maistry, mastery. 

Mauger, in spite of. 

Meacocke, effeminate fellow^ pol- 

Meane, middle, moderate. 

Meane and indififerent, middle. 

Meane sort, middle-class rank. 

Mechanical!, of meati occupation; 

Mediane, vein in the fore-arm. 

Mediocrity, mean. 

Meere, pure, absolute, perfect; 
completely, only, sheer, nothing 

Meerely, cheerfully ; purely. 

Megreimes, megrim, ?nig)-ane, 

Membrall, "m. deformity," de- 
formity of the limbs. 

Memorious, viemorable. 


Merlins, fatherless children. 

Messes, dishes. 

Middle, mean, moderate. 

Mignardizes, fondlings. 

Mile-end, "to m.-end," a mile's 

Militant, sharp (vifves, M.). 
Militarie, pressing. 
Milt, spleen. 
Minatorie, menacing. 
Mingle-mangle, conficsed mixtm 

(M. is speaking of centos). 
Mis-accompted, mistaken. 
Misacknowledge, do not acknow 

ledge, do not know. 
Miscarie, " make it m.," wound \ 

(affoler, M.). 
Misdoe, do wrong. 
Mislike, dislike. 
Mistrustful! , to be suspected. 
Mobility, changeability (A., inhabi 

lity ; M. , bransle). 
Moderatrix, feminine of moderate? 
Moe or bob, nwuth or grimacing. 
Moiles, mules. 

Moity (moytie), portion, half. 
Monopolies, conspiracies, intHgius 
Monuments, medals. 
Moodie (moody), jnad. 
Moodily, stupidly. 
Moote, argue. 

Morbidezza, softness, delicacy. 
Morions, steel helmets without 

visors, used by foot -soldiers. 
Morsels, "cutting out their m.," 

i. e. regulating their procedure. 
Mortall, death, deadly. 
Mortified, ''high." 
Mort-mere, dead or stagnant sea. 
Motion, emotion; movements. 
Motive, means. 

Motive to, i^iclination towards. 
Motives of accord, overtures 

Mouldred, broken. 
Moultred away, viouldered or fnelted 

Moved (mooved), angry, nettled, 

atiimated ; asked. 
Mowes, fuouths, faces. 
Muffle, blunt, soften. 
Muskles, mussels. 




Mulct, a great imile ; a beast much 
used in France for the carriage of 
sutnpers, etc. (Cotgrave). 

Mumnt-chaunce, a game of chance, 
playei in silence. 

Mumps and mowes, mumblings 
and grimaces. 

'^wwxiQ^ fortify. 

Munition, fortifying material. 

Munition- wines, wines fo) the 
victtidllng of the army. 

Mured, walled up. 

Murre, % heavy cold. 

Must, unfermented grape fuice. 

Musty, spiritless. 

Mylden, soften. 

Mysterie (mystery), business (me- 
stier, M.). 

Mysticall, mysterious. 


Nacre, ' ' a Naker ; a great and long 
shellfish, the outside of whose shell 
is riiggedy and browne of colour, 
the inside smooth, andofa shining 
hue ; the forme {broad at the one 
end and narrow at the other') some- 
what like a Smithes bellow es ; {it 
is but seldome, or never found on 
our coast) " (Cotgrave). 

Namely, especially. 

Native, naive, natural. 

Neede, care. 

Negotious, full of busi^iess. 

Nevi^ izxi^td, fond of taking hold of 
new things ; novel. 

New fangles, new ways of taking 
hold of things ; novelties. 

Ninny-hammer, blockhead. 

Nonce, " for the n.," for a time. 

Nonchion, nunchion, collation, 

Notte, shear, shave. 

Nullity, effeminacy. 

Nummie, azvkiuard, clumsy. 

Nuzzled, nursed. 

Nyaes, foolish. 


Obdurating, hardening. 
Obeysance, obedience. 

Obscured, spoilt (gaster, M.). 

Observance, obligation. 

Observations, customs observed. 

CEconomicke, household. 

CEconomie, household management. 

Of, against, by, upon, with, off. 

Offence, inconvenience. 

Offend, hu)-t, strike at, attack. 

Offended, enraged. 

Offer, charge. 

Office "in o.," to his work. 

Of-spring (off-spring), birth, " mor- 
tall o.," earthly origin. 

Ointed, anointed. 

One, "ever being o.," ever being 
the same ; *' one same," the 

Onely (only), sole. 

Only name, bare name. 

Opinative, opiniative. 

Opiniate, opiniating (themselves, 
himselfe), being obstinate, per- 

Opinion, supposition: "o. oi,^' be- 
lief in. 

Opinionate, obstinate; (used as a 
verb), "o. himselfe against," stand 
up against ; deliver opinions. 

Oppugne, oppose, fight against. 

Order, good management. 

Ordered, decided. 

Oreth war ting, cross current. 

Origon, Origanum, the name of the 
genus of plants to which the 
marjoram belongs. 

Ostracisme, banishment for ten 
years : an Athenian law. 

Othersome, others. 

Ought, owed. 

Out gone, " he hath o. g.," he hath 
freed himself from. 

Out-lopes, leaps out. 

Out of hand, immediately. 

Outrecuidance, arrogance. 

Out-roades, night-marches. 

Outslips, sallies. 

Over-make, perfect. 

Overpaid, too much exalted. 

Over-pearing, overlooking, high. 

Overt, open, free. 

Over- weening, arrogancy, conceit. 

Oweth, owneth. 



Paillardize, uncleatituss, lewdness. 

^ Paisant, peasant . 

Pale, bi^ke, pallid. 

Palmesters, those who practise 

Panada, ^^ cruvimes of bread (and 
currafis) moistened or brewed with 
water'' (Cotgrave). 

Panches, stomachs. 

Pandership, Uwdness. 

Panike Terror, fear caused by iht. 
god Fan. 

Parboyled, boiled. 

Pardon, permit. 

Parents, relations. 

Pargettings, parqtietry. 

Paring, ouiivard crust. 

Parity, equality. 

Parle or accord, armistice. 

Parly, discuss ; treaty. 

Part, depart. 

Partage, " in p. , " ;'« division, shar e. 

Paitialized, dividid 

Particular, pHvate ; " my p.," w^- 

Particularly, by piecemeaU step by 
step (par le nienu, M. ). 

Particularly, separately. 

Parties, opponents. 

Partricide, enemy to one s country. 

Parts, traits, proceedings^ com- 
vioditits. qualities. 

Party, affair, business. 

Pase, step. 

Passe and repasse, a juggling tern:. 

Passe them, give them, utter them. 

Passed over, spent. 

Passibility, capacity to endure. 

Passionate (verb), affect with ardent 
emctio7i, impassionaie ; scurvy, 
evil (vilain, M. ). 

Passionated, troubled. 

Past, surfnounted (Coste). 

Pattens, shoes. 

Pavesado. ' ' any targiut -fence ; 
especially that of galleys, whereby 
the slaves are defended from the 
smail shot of the eiumy ''' (Cot- 

Pawses, "by p.,"' at intervals. 

Peculiar, particular. 

Pedantisme, education. 

Peece-meales, bit by bit. 

Peeces, helnuts. 

Peized, weighed, balanced. 

Pelted, abused, assailed. 

Penned, written. 

Pensive, weary, discontennd (en- 

nuye, M.) 
Pepper, "to take p. in the nose," 

to take offence. 
Perad venture, "without dl p.,'' 

without doubt. 
Perdie, par Dieu, by God. 
Peregrination, traz'elling it. foreign 

Perflable, allowitig air to pass 

Beripateticall, Aristotelian. 
Peripatedke, Aristotelian. 
Periphrasis, cir.ufn locution. 
Perokitoes, parrots. 
Peroquet, parrot, paroque:, B. and 

C. ; perot, A. 
Perscrutation, C. thorough search : 

perscutation, B. ; preservation, A. 
Person, personage, charasier. 
Personate, acts, plays. 
Perspective . . . glasses, mirrors. 
Perswade, advised ; confront. 
Peta'isme, banishment for five years . 

a ' yracusan law. 
Pethard (verb), blow up. 
Petie, little. 
Petrificant, petrifying. 
Pettie-foggers, wordy lanyers. 
Petiie-gent]e,_/^(;3/^, mild. 
Petty, daily. " 
Philosophate, discuss. 
Philosophicall, physical. 
Philosophic, "to p.,'" i. e. to study 

philosophy, philosophize. 
Pick-thanke, originally one who 

curried favour, used here in the 

sense of qucirrelsojne. 
Picke-thanks, senile flatterers. 
Pickrell-fish, pike. 
Picorenrs, marauders. 
Piece, 77iuskct, karquebuse. 
Pieces, attachments, findings 

(liaisons, M.). 
Piersant, sharp, pointed. 
Piles, lance or javelin. 



Filled, pi //ao^ed. 

Pinnot2re, *' a little shel-fish, of the 

kino of shrimpes " (Cotgrave). 
Piots, magpies. 
Pippe,B. and C. {a disease iiifowls); 

rheime, A. 
Pirlinj, rippling. 
PisseiTiires, ants. 
Pitch, standing, aim. 
Pithily, "p. continued," ably or 

we'd mamtained. 
Place, ranr. 

Plaide the ducke, stooped down. 
Plaine, complain. 
Plausible, paceable, pleasant. 
Play themseves, stake themselves. 
Plot or form?, plan, scheme. 
Plum, stout. 
Plum-feeding, plwnp-fattening 

(grossir, M). 
Plumb-cheek, plump-cheeked ; (a 

play upon «njoue, M. ). 
I Plunges, **ptt to his "p.," placed in 
dificulty ; " put me to so many 
p.," gave ne so much to do. 
Pocketed up, 'aken, suffered. 
Podagrees, gotty feet. 
\ Point of the eFects, in the fnidst of 

the business. 
i Pointed, appoiited. 
' Poiseth, lays veight. 
' Polaxes, hatch'ts. 

\ Policed and foimalest, governed and 
I regulated. 
: Polina, Polana 

' Polipodie, Poljpodium, a genus of 
ferns to whrh the oak-fern be- 
Politikely, diligintly. 
Poll ere, to be vigorous and power- 
Pommada, "to make the p.," to 

walk on the hinds. 
Port, bearing. 

Porterly, like a ^reet porter. 
Porterly-rascall, a bearer of bur- 
Positions, dogmcs. 
Possesse, inspire. 
Poste, '* laid p.,' arranged in relays 

for posting. 
Posthumes, posthumous issue. 

Postposing, subordinating. 

Pourcontrell, or maniefeet, polypm, 

Pouts, eel-pouts or (?) chickens. 

Povvdred beefe, salt beef. 

Practise, bribe ; plotted. 

Practised and suborned, bribed. 

Pranked-up, dressed-up. 

Preallable, preliminary. 

Prease, crowd, f>ress. 

Precedent, preceding. 

Precinct, extent. 

Predicament, category, class. 

Preoccupate, anticipate, predispose. 

Preordaine, exact, predetermine. 

Prescript, prescribed, regular.. 

Prescription, order, iiile. 

Presentiall apparence, good presence. 

Presently, im mediately . 

Presidential! law-case, legal judg- 

Presidents, examples. 

Pretence of, pretence for. 

Pretend, lay claim to. 

Pretended, intended. 

Pretendeth, strives. 

Pretenses, pretexts, clawis. 

Preud 'hommie, sincerity, faithful- 

Prevail with, coinment, set off at its 

Prevaile, esteem, make profit; "how 
to p.," how to value themselves ; 
' • wherewith he most goeth about 
to p.," in which he best works, 
??inke use of. 

Prevailing, profiting by, gaining. 

Prevent, anticipate ; interrupt. 

Price, pre-eminence. 

Pricke and praise, "give p. and p.," 
give the palm. 

Pricked, spurred, excited. 

Pricke-lowse, lousy. 

Pricklings, scratches. 

Prime, springtime of life. 

Primely, strictly, perfectly. 

Princock boy, saucy boy. 

Prise, value. 

Priseable, valuable. 

Private man, individual. 

Privation, deprivation. 

Pri\ie, witness. 



Processe, trial ; law case. 
rrocuration, care, vianagemcnt ; 

proxy, authority. 
] 'roditoriously, treacheronsly. 
Profit, utility. 
Profluvion, Jl owing out. 
Progresse, "on p.," on totir. 
Propense discourse, reJJection, pro- 

pejisity to tneditate. 
Proper, natural. 
Proper charges, own expense. 
Proper of effects, nature of effects. 
Proper persons, oivn persons. 
Proper unto himselfe, essentially his 


Proportion, comparison^ i.e. "(^j' 
this comparison of my qualities 
attd my 7nanners with those of 
our times " (E. Johanneau). 

Proportion his ordinarie, regulate 
his practice. 

Proportions, analogies. 

Proprieties, properties. 

Prosopopeyall, disguised, feigned. 

Protract, dispense ; defer ; deaden, 

Proules, make prey of. 

Prowes, prowess. 

Publike designe, vulgar design. 

Punies, the younger (puisne, M.). 

Purpose, " of p. ," meet for the pur- 

Purposed, *' I am not p.," I do not 
intend, I am not prepared. 

Putteth up, putteth up with. 

Pyrrhonize, " to p.," /c? act after the 
manner of the Pyrrhonians, i. e. 
to question the possibility of 
knowing anything. 

Quacke-salver, charlatan. 
Quadrature, squaring. 
Quail e, swell ; disprove ; subdue. 
Quaint, shy, timorous; elegant, 

'"'• precious,''' elaborate; strange, 
far-fetched ; excellent, refined. 
Quaintnesse, ingenuity ; elegancy, 

Qualme, '*to q.," to be tmeasy, 


Quarie, p7'ey. 

Quartan ague, a fever retiming 
every fourth duy. 

Quelling, tormenting, overpoveriiig. 

Questings, inquiries, searches, 

Question, "makeaq.," dotitt. 

Quicke, live, live Hesh, vivcciotts, 

Quickest, j?wst vital, most vivid. 

Quidam, certain. 

Quiddities (quidities), sibtlet?es. 

Quier, equerry. 

Quit, part with anyfiing ; dis- 
pensed with ; leave; lid. 

Quittance, 7'elease. 

Quitted, acquitted. 

Quivered, shivered. 

Quoifed serjants, beivigged lawyers. 

Quoifes, hoods. 


Rabble case-canvasiig, litigious 

Raced, erased. 
Rackes, oppresses, ru'ns. 
Racket, toss. 1 

Ramd, closed. ^ 

Rancke, furious, vioent. 
Kandon (Randan), Random, "at 

r.," at large, everywhere. 
Range, arrange. 
Ranged, acetic fomed. 
Raport, equal. 
Rare, able. 
Rase, overthrow. 
Ratably, equivalently. 
Rattles, toys. 
Raw sodden, half baled. 
Razor, eraser. 
Reach, aim. 
Reacknowledge, confess. 
Re-advise, acknouledge ; "Re-a. 

themselves," loo/^ about them. 
Ready payment, current, credible. 
Reals, Spanish coirs. 
Re-appeall, recall. 
Reastie, rusty. 
Rebate, blunt. 
Receaver, steward. 
Receit, income. 
Receive, admit, be capable of. 



Recharge, attack again. 
Reconjoyneth, rejoins. 
Recover(ed), cure; regain^ fly to ; 

Recoylings, retreats. 
Redacted, reduced. 
Redoubted, feared, renowned. 
Reduce, induce, draw forth; "r, it," 

refer him {or lead him). 
Re -en verse, reverse. 
Refrained, having left. 
Regard, "for their r,," as far as 

ihey are concerned, 
Regardfull, evident. 
Regent, Regency, teacher^ teaching, 

Regiment, regimen. 
Regorge, cast back. 
pN.eines, kidneys. 
Reke, care {for). 
Remisse, languid, slow ; humble. 
Remisseness, weakness, cowardice. 
Remits, leaves. 
Remove, move about. 
Remyses, relapses. 
Rents, "common x.,''^ public funds. 
Repentable, reprehensible. 
Repercusse, beat back. 
Replications, replies. 
Reprehend, rectify. 
Reprised, resumed. 
Reprisings, " reiterated r.," repeated 

Reproved, reproachable. 
Repugning, combating. 
Required, appealed to. 
Resolve, solve; "be resolved of," 

have solved ; "r. his judgement,'' 

have a resolute judgment (E. 

Respect, regard. 
Respective, respectful. 
Respondent of, responsible for. 
Respondents, "but ill r.," no 

good authority. 
Restie (resty), stubborn, restive. 
Retailed into, dealt out in. 
Retchlesnesse (rechlesnes), reckless- 
ness, nonchalance. 
Retire, call back ; "to r. it," to keep 

Retiring, resting, being at home. 

Retortable, answerable. 

Retreeve, recall. 

Reviradoes, retorts. 

Revoke, recall. 

Rewbarbative, vinegary, austere, 

Ridde away, take azuay. 

Right, exactly. 

Ring, curb, fasten tip. 

Risible, capable of laughter. 

Roane, Rouen. 

Roat, rote, heart. 

Robbin-good-fellowes, brownies. 

Rodomantados, blusterings. 

Roules, conducts. 

Round(ly), quick; large{ly), plenti- 

ful{ly) ; firmly ; thoroughly ; 

openly; brusquely. 
Rowling, unsteady. 
Rowting, turning up ivith the snout. 
Rowts, flights. 
Rub, "live and r. out," etuieavour 

to live (vivoter, M. ). 
Rubbe out, carry on. 
Rudest, sharpest, coarsest. 
Rueth not, does not pine after. 
Ruine, falling down, pouring down. 
Rumbling, rolling. 
Rumour, rioise, clamour. 
Run on poste, carry out his will. 
Ryving, rending asunder. 

Sacietie, satiety. 

Sallets, salads. 

Sallies, "by s.," by degrees. 

Salve, pass over, dissemble, excuse. 

Sance, sons, without. 

Saturnally, gloomily. 

Savored, tasted, understand. 

Sawcinesse, animosity, malice. 

Scald-headed, afflicted with ring- 

Scantling, a bit, a portion. 

Scape, escape. 

Scapes, "it cleerley s. her," she 
does without it. 

Scarce, sieve, strainer. 

Scarifications, incisions or blood- 
lettings with a lancet. 

Sceletos, dried or parched viummy 
lean person. 



Scroules or biiefes, amulets, charms 

(brevets, M.). 
Sconce (skonce), small fort, fortress, 

Scope, end. 
Scopeful . . . charge, libejiy in 

their work. 
Scowred, purges. 
Scowring, " scap't a narrow s.," 

had a narrow escape from death. 
Screw, winding stair. 
Sea me, connection. 
Searce, sieve, strainer. 
Seare-cloath, or cere-cloth, a waxen 

cloth for dead bodies or wounded 

Secret, inner place, seat. 
Sectators, disciples. 
Seeke, "you may go s.," all is 

over; "to s. ," wanting; at a 

loss, perplexed. 
Seele, blind {originally a term in 

Seeling, winking, cringing. 
Seely, sijuple ; " s. servants," serfs. 
Seld (seeki), seldom. 
Selfe-degree, equal degree. 
Selfe-weening, presumptuous. 
Semblable, similar. 
Seminary, seed-garden. 
Sence, feeling. 
Sensible, painful. 
Senting, scenting. 
Sepulchres, obsequies, buryings. 
Sequester, divert. 
Seraille, seraglio. 
Sereine, ^'' the mildew, or harmefull 

dew of some su?n?7ier evenings^^ 

Set-flights, pretended flights. 
Set their match, prepare themselves 

{from the action of priming a 

slow match). 
Settled, stayed, stopped {sLxresie, M.). 
Set-up, stabled. 
Severall, separate. 
Sextaine, sacristan, keeper of the 

Shamefast, jnodest. 
Sharpe, "at the s. ," in good eai'nest. 
Shift, attend to wants, hunt ; change 

clothing ; change {over) ; move- 

ments ; device; search; "t 

make s.," to do. 
Shockt, jostled, hurtled. 
Shoote his boult, have his turn 

unburden himself. 
Shotte, shooters, soldiers. 
Shrewd, wicked. 
Shroving, abstinence. 
Shrow, shrew. 
Shrowes, nymphs. 
Side-wide, long. 
Simbolize, compare. 
Single combat, tournaments, lists 

(camp clos, M.) 
Singular, "over s.," over-particular. 
Sinnow(ie), sinew{y). 
Sith, sithence, since. 
Skoffe, "breed a s.," sneer. 
Skreene, a hand-barrow or litter. 
Sledge, mallet. 
Sleeked, plastered upy smoothed 

Slibber-sawces, slibber-slabbers, 

drenches of physic ; ( M. 'j- word for 

slibber-slabbers is brevets, charms^ 

Smoake, air. 
Smooth and quaint, or rather, lofty 

and ufifettered (haultain et deslie, 


Smugging, adorning, making spruce. 
Snap-hanse, spring-lock. 
Snuffe in the nose. See " Pepper." 
Sodaine, sudden. 
Sodden, boiled, or soaked. 
Soking, thorough, complete. 
Solemne, sumptuous. 
Solstitium, solstice. 
Some "in %.,'''' generally, finally. 
Soothingly entertaining, making 

sport of. 
Sooth-up, humour. 
Soria, Syria. 
Sort, turn out ; reconcile; happen, 

Sortable, suitable. 

Sorted, suitable; compared, paral- 
leled; arranged. 
Sorting, disposition. 
Soultring, sultry. 
Souterly, vulgar, low. 
Sowre, rancid. 



Spagnolised, after the models of 

Spanish writers. 
Spauling, slavering^ spitting. 
Speeding, speedy. 
Spight, anger; "new s.," sudden 

anger ; "in s.," in spite of. 
Spite, chagrin. 
Spoile, put off, despoil. 
Spondaical, slow, solemn. 
Springs, origins, faculties. 
Spur-blinde, purblind, dim-sighted. 
Spynie, thin. 

Square, agree, adapt, equal, arrange. 
Squat, hide like a hare (conniller, 

M. ) ; cast down. 
Squattering (brode, M.), *'« loose 

laskie, squattering, scurvy ; also 

an effeminate language or speech" 

Squire, square, measure. 
Staid them, cut them, off too soon. 
Stand to, "if they would s. t.," 

being put to, or if judged by. 
Started from, l^^t. 
Starting, sudden action out of the 

ordinary course. 
Starting-hole, loophole, hiding-place. 
Starts, sallies, turns ; beginning. 
Stay, await, support ; regularity ; 

state, condition ; " continue at one 

s. in sparing, " keep to one point 

in economy; "bring to a s.," 

prop tip: 
Stead, are of advatttage to. 
Steadeth, serves. 
Sterns, rudders. 
Sticklers, those who saw fair play in 

duels, and that the fight ended 

Still, continually, ever. 
Stints, ' ' fits and s. , "fits and starts, 

Stitch, "gone through s. with it," 

gone through with it to the end. 
Stoccado (stockado), a thrust in 

Stocke, log. 
Stone, gun-flint. 
Storax, fragrant gum. 
StoxQ, framework, building ; abund- 
Stormy-wrackes, ruinous storms. 

Stoves or hothouses, hot baths, 
" Turkish baths" (Estuves, M.). 
Stran.^e, polished (peilegrin, M.), 
Streelce, strike, surprise. 
Streights, Unfits. 
Strike saile, yield. 
Stronde, sand, mud. 
Strongest, " s. death," most 

Stupiditie, stupefaction. 
Stupious, debauching. 
Subniisse, submissive. 
Subsisting, inheir.nt. 
Subtilize, "tos.," to split hairs. 
Subversion, conversion. 
Succeded, happened. 
Succeed, happens. 

Successe, result, conduct ; " the s. of 
time," the course of time ; "the 
s. of," the case of, what befell. 
Successes, succession of things; 

Sufferance, disturbance; suffering, 

Sufficient, able. 
Suffragant, secondary. 
Summarie, complete. 
Summers, supporting beams. 
Sumpters, pack-horses and burdens. 
Superchiery, outrage, foul play. 
vSuperstitious, scrupulous. 
Suple, grease, anoint. 
Supple, make up for ; sooth. 
Supputation, reckoning. 
Suspect, "makes me s.," puts me 

into suspense. 
Suspected, infected, insecure. 
Sute, compare. 
Suter, suppliant. 

Swethen, Suabia (M. certainly has 

*' suMe," but Coste has pointed 

out that this is probably a printe?^ s 


Swinge, "allow them their s.," 

give them liberty. 
Syllabize, talk in an affected manner. 
Symphonicall, agreeable, harmoni- 

Table, tableau, painting. 
Table-line, in chiromancy, the line 



which crosses ilic middle of the 
handy from the first to the little 
finger (E. Johanneau). 

Tables, "writing X..^'' tablets, note- 
booh : backgammon, or draughts. 

Taking, condition. 

Tallants, talons. 

Targattier, a soldier xoho carries a 
buckler or shield. 

Taste, touch. 

Tax(e), reproach, censure. 

Teachers rising, tubercle or szvelling 
of the forefinger. 

Teastie, testie, irritable. 

Teazels, heads of dipsacus /lowers, 
the hooks oj which are used in 
combing cloth. 

Temper, adulterate, mix; temper- 
ance, moderation. 

Temporize, defer, delay. 

Tender, value ; easy, lax. 

Tendrels, young people. 

Tennons, joinings. 

Tenowr, pace. 

Termelesse, limitless. 

Testerne, cafiopy. 

Testimonies, witnesses. 

Testons, small silver coins worth 
eighteen pence sterling (reales, 

Tiien, than. 

Thirl'd, hurled. 

Thirling, hurling, darting. 

Thrift, fortune. 

Thriftie husbands, economizers. 

Tintimare, ^^ a clashing, or crashing, 
a rustling or gingling noise, made 
in the fall of woodden stuffe, or 
vessel Is of me tall . . . the loud 
wrangling, or, jangling outcries 
of scoulds, or scoulding jellowes ; 
any extreme or horrible din " 

Tipple-square, drink excessively. 

Tissew, gold lace. 

Tonell, funnel. 

Torneytrs, turneys, toumamenis, 

Tospot, drunketi. 

Touch, ascertain, see. 

Touch-stone, test. 

Tract, ti-aif. 

Traine, result ; route. 

Training, dragging out. 

Transchange, alteration ; change. 

Travell, travel, travail, work, 

Trenchers, plates. 

Tricke, deck, adorn. 

Trill (tril), roll; flow, trickle. 

Trilling, rolling. 

Tripos, altar. 

Trouble-feast, "a vaine or importun- 
ate buffoone ; or any one who by 
idle chat, or unseasonable chiding, 
offendeth, or cloyeth, such as ivould 
be merry " (Cotgrave). 

Trudging, trampling. 

Trunk sleeves, wide sleeves. 

Trunke, tube (sarbacane, M.). 

Truss n^, fasten up. 

Trusse, pack. 

Tunnel], tonnels, shaft or fine. 

Turbants, turbans. 

Twine-thrid, pack-thread. 

Twitch, pull, or preferably, turn, 
inclination (pente, M.). 



Ulcerate, affiict. 

Umbrels, umbrellas. 

Unarted, non-cultured. 

Unarted in, unused to. 

Unbesot, release, render wise, 

Uncuriously, awkwardly. 

Undertake, attack. 

Unfeather, reveal, 

Unhanted, solitary. 

Unhe(e)dinesse, carelessness, want 

of vigilance. 
Unhoope, to unloose, as in the case 

of hoops round a cask. 
Unmated, unmatched. 
Unpleasant, paltry. 
Unscience, ignorance. 
Unsinnowy, irregular, uncombined. 
Unsufferable, unreasonable. 
Untoward, ivayward. 
Untowardlinesse, incapacity, awk' 

Untrussed, untied, unbraced. 
Untune, unruliness. 



Unvaluable, invaluable. 

Unwitting, unknown. 

Uphold, suspend. 

Ure, use; appetite. 

Urging, urgent ; severe , austere. 

Vacation, vocation. 

Vagabond, wandering. 

Vagabondine, beggarly. 

Vaile, sheath, case, outward man. 

Vaileth, bows down. 

Valour, value. 

Vant-gard, vanguard. 

Vapours, humours. 

Vardingall. See Verdugalles. 

Varlet, labourer, 

Vastitie, vastness. 

Vauting, vaulting. 

Venies, venues, thrusts with the foil 
in fencing. 

Vented,/«/' into circulation, released. 

Venter, adventure, risk in enter- 

Verdugalles, fa?-thingales, hooped 
petticoats, crinolines. 

Vermeill, ruddy, sanguine. 

Vertue, valour. 

Vertuous, courageous. 

Vice, fool or buffoon in the 77iorality 

Vile, mean^ of average quality. 

Vilified, cheapened, debased. 

Villains and clounes, plebeians, of 
ignoble birth. 

Villannelles, country ballads. 

Virginalles, keyed musical instru- 
ments, precursors of the pianoforte. 

Visard, vizard, mask for concealing 
the face; vizar. 

Void, in diameter. 

Voluptuousness, show ; pleasure. 

Vowels, words, vocables. 

Voydness, inanity, emptiness. 

Vulgar, ordinary, common. 


Waine, car, cart. 
Wallow, tois about, roll. 
Wallowish, insipid, plat. 


Wannish, pale. 

Wanton-puling, *^ an effeminate 
fondling, or fond carpet-knight,'* 
(Cotgrave), (dameret, M.), 

Warantice, warranty, assurance. 

Ward, state, position. 

Wards, secret springs, fcuulties, 
guards, defences. 

Warrant, assert ; secure ; guarantee, 
assure; evidence. 

Warrant and warde, "to w. and 
w,, to shelter and shield.'^ 

Waste, waist, middle. 

Waymentings, laments. 

Weald, govern. 

Weeping Crosse, a penitent's cross 
on the highway for devotions. 

Weerish, worthless, withered. 

Well scene, well skilled, well-trust, 

Welt, fringe or ornament. 

Wherret (or whirrit) on the eare, 
sounding slap or box on the ear. 

^\{\\ovci{€), formerly. 

Whirry, wherry, boat. 

Whit "no wi.," in fio way ; "any 
\v.," any ivay. 

Whit-meates, 7vhite meat, i.e. cheese. 

Whotte, hot. 

Wile or wit, cunning or ability. 

Wilie, enticing. 

Wilie-beguilies, quibbles. 

Will he, or nill he, whether he will 
or not. 

Wi mpled, furrowed. 

Win (winne), induce. 

Wince, kick. 

Winching, wriggling, plunging. 

Wind-pufft, trivial. 

Windowen, supplied with windows. 

Wire (wyre)-draw(n), elongate, ex- 
tend, draw out ; thinned out, 

Wisards, pedants, wise men. 

Wishly, earnestly. 

Wisht, silently. 

Wistly, attentively. 

Wit, understanding, mind; pru- 

Witness, confess. 

Wit tie, clever, learned. 

Wittily, itigeniously. 

Witting, tmderstanding. 

4IO Glossary 

Witting-earnestly, purposely^ know- extort ; strain ; incline to a com- 

ingly. mon path. I 

Wittingl}^ knowingly; "his word Wresting in, a&-ao^'«^ m. 

w. ," his ozun word. Wrimples,y"^A/j-, wrinkles. 

Wittly-wary, earnestly careful. Wring, press. 

Wooll, "against the w.," against Wringing and wresting, twisting 

the grain. and dragging. 

Woormes, irritates, nrges on in- ,. 

sidiously and perseveringly. 

Worky-day, working day. Yarke, crack., strike out. 

Wot, know. Yeeld(e), render. 

Wracke, min. Yerneth, grieveth. 

Wrest, " to w.," to pull out, extend : Yonker, lad., lover. 




{Full Catalogue on Application) 


10 Bacon's Essays, Intro, by Oliphaut Smeaton 

11 Coleridge's Biographia Literaria. Intro, by Arthur Symons 

12 Emerson's Essays. First and Second Series 

13 Fronde's Short Studies. Vol. I. 

14 Lamb's Essays of Elia. Introduction by Augustine BirreU 

65 Hazlitt's Shakespeare's Characters 

66 Holmes' Autocrat of the Breakfast Table 

67 „ Professor at the Breakfast Table 

68 „ Poet at the Breakfast Table 

69 Lady Montagu's Letters. Intro, by R. Brimley Johnsoa 

70 Walton's Compleat Angler. Intro, by Andrew Lanj? 

115 Matthew Arnold's Essays. Intro, by G. K. Chesterton 

116 Brown's Rab and hia Friends, etc. 

117 Irring's Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon 

118 Reynolds' Discourses, Intro, by L. March Phlllipps 
162 Coleridge's Essays and Lectures on Shakespeare, etc. 

164-167 The Spectator. 4 vols. Intro, by G. Gregory Smith 
168 Ty tier's Essay on the Principles of Translation 
207 Ruskin's Seven Lamps of Architecture. Intro. Selwyn Image 
208-212 „ Modem Painters. 5 vols. Intro, by Lionel Cust 

213-215 „ Stones of Venice. 3 vols. Intro, by L. March Phlllipps 

216 „ Unto This Last, The Political Economy of Art 

217 „ Elements of Drawing and Perspective 

218 „ Pre-Raphaelitism. Lectures on Architectm-e and 
Painting, Academy Notes, 1855-1859, and Notes on the 
Turner Gallery. Intro, by Laurence Binyon 

219 Ruskin's Sesame and Liles, The Two Paths, and The King of 

the Golden River. Intro, by Sir Oliver Lodge 

223 De Quincey's Opium Eater. Intro, by Sir G. Douglas 

224 Mazzini's Duties of Man, etc. Intro, by Thos. Jones, M.A. 
225-226 Macaulay's Essays. 2 vols. Intro, by A. J. Grieve, M.A. 

227 Elyot's Gouemour. Intro, and Glossary by Prof. Foster Watsoa 

228 Ulric the Farm Servant. Edited with Notes by John Ruskin 

278 Carlyle's Sartor Re.^arfus and Heroes and Hero Worship 

279 Emerson's Representative Men. Intro, by Ernest Rhys 

280 MachiavelU's Prince. Special Trans, and Intro, by W. K. Marriott 

281 Thoreau's Waldcn. Intro, by Walter Raymond 

282 Ruskin's Ethics of the Dust. Intro, by Grace Rhys 

321 Hazlitt's Table Talk 

322 Emei-son's Nature, Conduct of Life, Essays from the *■ Dial " 

323 Ruskin's Crown of Wild Olive and Cestus of Agrlaia 

346 Craik's Manual of English Literature 

347 Swift's Tale of a Tub. The Battle of the Books, etc. 

348 Gilflllan's Literary Portraits. Intro, by Sir W. Robertson Nicoll 
411 Hazlitt's Lectures on the English Comic Writers 

439 Macaulay's Miscellaneous Essays and The Lays of Ancient Rome 
440-442 Florio's Montaigne. Intro, by A. R. Waller, M.A. 3 vols. 
450 Ruskin's Time and Tide with other Essays 

458 Matthew Arnold's Study of Celtic Literature, and other Critical 

Essays, with Supplement by Lord Strangford, etc. 

459 Hazlitt's Spirit of the Age and Lectures on English Poets 

460 Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution and contingent} 

Essays. Intro, by A. J. Grieve, M.A. 

461 Utopia and the Dialogue of Comfort tigainst Tribulation. By 

Sir Thomas More. Intro, by Judge O'Hagan 
493 Theology in the English Poets. Stopford A. Brooke, M.A. 
604 Herbert Spencer's Essays on Education. Intro, by E. W. Elliot 

617 Isaac Taylor's Words and Places, or Etymological Illustrations 

of History, Ethnology, and Geography. Intro. Edward Thomas 

618 Rousseau's Emile. Translated by Barbara Foxley 

619 Hamilton's The FederaUst : a Commentary on the Constitution 

of the United States 
620-521 Bagehot's Literary Studies. 2 vols. Intro, by George Sampson 

666 The Invisible Playmate, W. V., Her Book, and In Memory o£ 

W. V. By WiUiam Canton 

667 Emerson's Society and Solitude and other Essays 


668 Dryden's Dramatic Essays. With an Intro, by W. H. Hudson 
607 Among My Books. By James Russell Lowell 
60S Past and Present. By Thoiaa,s Caiiyle. Intro, by R. W. Emerson 
eoy The English Mail Coach and Other Writings. By Thoa. de 

Quincoy. Intro: by S. Hiil Burton 
610 The English Humourists and the Four Georges. By W. M. 

Thackeray. Intro, by Walter Jerrold 
C53 A Century of Essays : An Anthology of English Essayists 

673 Estays in the Study of Folk-6ong8. By the Countess 


674 The Letters from Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple. 

Edited and connotated (with a new historical Introduction) 
by Judge Parry 

675 Anthology of Prose. Compiled and Ed. by Miss S. L. Edwards 
703-704 Carlyle's Essavs. 2 vols. With Note by J. Russell Lowell 

7U5 Iroude's Short Studies. Vol. II. 

7'J3 Newman's Oh the Scope and Nature of University Education, 
and a paper on Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 
Intro, by Wilfrid Ward 
724 Penn's The Peace of Europe, Some Fruits of Solitude, and 
other writings 

31-32 Carlyle's French Revolution. Intro, by H. Belloa 2 vols. 

'66 1 inlay's Byzantine Empire 
34-36 Macaoiay's History of England. 3 vols. 

85 Burnet's History of His Own Times 
S6-SS Motley's Dutch Republic. 3 vols. 
89 Stanley's Memorials of Canterbury 
185 Finlay's Greece under the Romans 
186-197 Grote's History of Greece. 12 vols. Intro, by A. D. Lindsay 
198-199 Thierry's Norman Conquest. 2 vols. Intro, bv J. A. Price, B.A. 

250 Sifimondi's Italian Republics 

251 Stanley's Lectures on the Eastern Church. Intro. A. J. Grieve, 

273 Tacitus. Vol I. Annals. Intro, by E. H. Blakeney [M.A. 

274 „ Vol. II. Agricola & Germania. Intro. E. IT. Blakeney 

300 Creasy's Decisive Battles of the World. Intro, by E. Rhys 

301 Prescott's Conquest of Peru. Intro, by Thomas Seccombe, M.A. 
302-303 Parkman's Conspiracy of Pontiac. 2 vols. 

333 Chronicles of the Crusades (De Joinville's). Trans, with Intro, 
by Su> F. Marzials. C.B. 
372-374 Fronde's Henry VIII. Intro, by LleweUyn Williams, M.P. 3 vols. 

375 „ Edward VI. Intro. Llewellyn Williams, M.P., B.O.L. 

376 Machiavelli's History of Florence 
377-378 Milman's History of the Jews. 2 vols. 

397 -398 Prescott'p Conquest of Mexico. With Intro, by Thomas Seccombe. 

i'6-J. Liitzow's History of Bohemia [2 vols. 

433 Merivede's History of Rome. (An Introductory vol. to Gibbon.) 

Edited with Intro, and Notes by Olinhant Smeaton. M.A. 

434-436, 474-476 Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. 6 vols. 

Edited with Intro, and Notes by Oliphant Smeaton, M.A. 

477 Fronde's Mary Tudor. With Intro. LleweUyu Williams. M.P., 

478 Washington Irving's Conquest of Granada. [B.C.L. 

479 Bede'y Ecclesiastical History, etc. Intro, by Vida D. Scudder 

480 The Pilgrim Fathers. Intro, by John Masefield 

542-645 Mommsen's The History of Rome. Translated by W. P. Dick- 
son, LL.D. 4 vols. With a review of the work by E. A. Freeman. 

583-587 Fronde's History of Queen Elizabeth's Reign. 5 vols. Com- 
pleting Fronde's " History of England," in 10 vols. 

621-623 Constitutional History of England. 3 vols. By Henry Hallam 
624 The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Trans, by James Ingram 

712 Josephus' Wars of the Jews. Intro, by Dr. Jacob Hart 

713 The French Ftcvolntion. By F. A. M. Miguet. 
727 -728 Green's Short History of the English People. Edited and Revised 

by L. Cecil Jane, with an Appendix by R. P. Farley, B.A. 
734 Ancient Law. By Sir Henry Maine. Wioh a lengthy Introduc- 
tion by Professor Morgan of London University. 
737-738 A History of France. By Jean Victor Duruy. Translated by 
L. Cecil Jane and Lucy Menzies. Introduction by Richard 
Wilson, D.Litt. 




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